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What does biologically degradable mean? And how is this different from “biodegradable”?

Biologically degradable is defined as materials that will break down and degrade when placed in a variety of contexts at the end of their useful life, such as a landfill, in soil, in the ocean, and in compost. Materials would further need to not produce any toxic byproducts as they degrade, such as microplastics or any other toxic materials. 

This term is differentiated from the more common and misused term “biodegradable.” Companies often claim their materials are biodegradable, but do so for materials that produce microplastics as they degrade, and/or for materials that only degrade under certain conditions. There is no universal definition or certification for the term biodegradable.

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