Biodegradables: Lets use more of those and less of the other stuff.

We have all heard about the term ‘Biodegradable’ but what does that truly mean.  simply defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as; “capable of being slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural processes”.  This means that overtime, the material starts to disappear. One major contributor to that are micro organisms. These are organism that cannot be seen with the naked eye or without the help of a microscope. And yes, these little things surely can “chow down”

You see, over the years garbage dumps across the globe are becoming filling up faster than we know how to get rid of the trash that is already in it. many countries have tried using garbage as fuel but that in itself can cause major health issues for persons nearby and also it also contributes to Global Warming.

Bio-degradation is good because it helps to relieve the planet of much of the waste that we create and depends on the type of waste, this also helps in acting as a natural fertiliser for growth of plants and trees (composting).

You see some items take a very very long time to degrade and this is one reason why we still have so many garbage. Look at the table below;

Approximated time for compounds to biodegrade in a marine environment[5]
Product Time to Biodegrade
Paper towel 2–4 weeks
Newspaper 6 weeks
Apple core 2 months
Cardboard box 2 months
Wax coated milk carton 3 months
Cotton gloves 1–5 months
Wool gloves 1 year
Plywood 1–3 years
Painted wooden sticks 13 years
Plastic bags 10–20 years
Tin cans 50 years
Disposable diapers 50–100 years
Plastic bottle 100 years
Aluminium cans 200 years
Glass bottles Undetermined

Sadly the items that take the longest are the items we use on a regular basis. Hence why there have been an introduction of biodegrable bags amongst others.

Biodegradable materials aren’t our saving grace because they do take a while to break down (though significantly less time than non-biodegradable). That is why we have to add RECYCLING to our daily routines.  Recycling is a simple 3 step process ( or 3 R’s). These are; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.


Think about it


In our next post we will share some recycling tips and explain the 3 R’s. Until next time.

“Jamaica’s beauty is our duty” so nuh badda “dutty up Jamaica”

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