Silver bullet solutions capable of tackling overconsumption and waste are, unsurprisingly, few and far between. Increasingly, however, innovations are cropping up which look to offset concern and are ever-increasingly marketed as either bio-based, biodegradable or compostable. But what do these terms really mean?

Unfortunately, too often people get these terms mixed up, yet they mean entirely different things. Therefore, some myth busting is required. Bio-based, by definition, is “a product or material wholly or partly derived from biomass, such as plants, trees or animals,” in which case the biomass may have undergone physical, chemical or biological treatment.

A product is biodegradable, however, “if it can be decomposed by the action of microorganisms,” whilst a compostable product – which shares similarities with the latter – is one that biodegrades but only under specific conditions, and subsequently produces high quality compost. Pamela Ravasio reports.

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