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Recyclable vs Biodegradable vs Compostable Products – What’s the Difference?

Recyclable vs Biodegradable vs Compostable Products – What’s the Difference?

With so many alternatives to sending trash to landfill, it’s easy to get confused about the different options available to us. Where the best disposal method is sometimes unclear, here’s an easy and quick guide to the difference between recyclable, biodegradable and compostable products.

Recyclable

An essential process for diverting waste from landfill, recyclable products are materials that can be collected and reprocessed to create new items with common materials including paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminium and electronic waste. Identifiable by the universal recycling symbol, the easiest way to recycle is through your local council garbage program. It’s important to note that if too many of the wrong items (called contaminants) go in the recycling bin, the entire bin will be sent to landfill. Contaminants can include disposable nappies, takeaway coffee cups, garden waste, oils and more. Unlike other eco-friendly nappy brands, Cuddlies bamboo nappies’ outer packaging is 100% recyclable!

 

Biodegradable

Biodegradable items are products that break down into CO2, water and biomass within a “reasonable amount of time” in the natural environment. However, there is no legal definition or enforcement for the term so it is important to fact check the claims made by some manufacturers and read the fine print for how long it really takes the product to degrade (for example, Cuddlies nappies biodegrade 75% of their content within 100 days, and Cuddlies Water Wipes are 100% biodegradable). So how do you dispose of biodegradable products? Items labelled biodegradable can be disposed of in the regular garbage. Cuddlies bamboo nappies decompose in regular landfill, however it is important to follow the correct process to allow the decomposition to start. See here for how to dispose of your Cuddlies biodegradable bamboo nappies.

 

Compostable

Compostable products are the gold-class of biodegradable products. Degrading within several months in an industrial composting facility, when these break down, they have the added benefit of releasing valuable nutrients into the soil. If your neighbourhood does not provide industrial composting, you can dispose of compostable products in your backyard or home composter, but they will take longer to degrade. While Cuddlies bamboo nappies can be composted in small quantities, we recommend sending them to a commercial composting facility. It is important not to put compostables in the recycling – they are not recyclable and will contaminate the recycling process! See here for more information on composting your soiled nappies.

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