A product is biodegradable when it can be decomposed by biological organisms (e.g. bacteria, fungus, algae) in a favourable environment (temperature, humidity, light and oxygen conditions, etc.).
Biodegradation leads to the chemical and biochemical simplification of the product's molecules, as well as the mineralisation of its carbon in the form of CO2.
Degrees of biodegradability
The part of a product that is biodegradable and the duration of the decomposition process determines its degree of biodegradability. Thus, paper packaging that degrades within a few weeks is more biodegradable than mixed paper-plastic packaging, even if the plastic material is biodegradable.
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