BlogContactEmployee portal

Bioplastic, biodegradable, compostable... it all sounds the same? Know the differences!

The terms bioplastics or bio-based mean that the raw material used to manufacture the product comes from renewable sources like corn, sugar cane, soy, etc., but this does not mean it is biodegradable, because "traditional" plastics can be made from renewable raw material, as is the case with Bio-PP, Bio-PE and Bio-PET. On the other hand, there are also bio-based and biodegradable materials such as starch, PHA, and PLA, and non-bio-based biodegradable materials like PCL.

When we talk about a biodegradable material, we refer to what happens at the end of its useful life, resulting in the disintegration of the material due to the action of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and algae). There is no specific time frame for this process, as it can occur after hundreds of years, unlike compostable materials which have a maximum time of 12 months for degradation to occur due to the action of microorganisms in compost, producing: CO2, water, inorganic compounds and biomass, without leaving visible, distinguishable or toxic residues.

Now, composting is the biological degradation process that transforms organic waste into biologically stable material used as soil fertilizer. For this to happen, it is necessary to control humidity, temperature, and aerobic conditions (presence of oxygen). This is where the differences between home and industrial composting come from. In the latter, it is possible to control the aforementioned properties, creating a friendly environment for certain types of microorganisms (called thermophiles) that efficiently biodegrade the waste (maximum 6 months), unlike home composting, whose conditions (lower temperature and little control of humidity) lead to the proliferation of other microorganisms (mesophiles) which can take a little longer to do this same process (maximum 12 months).

In summary!

  • Bioplastics are plastics from renewable sources and do not need to be recycled.
  • Compostable materials are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable materials are compostable.
  • Compostable materials do not leave toxic residues.
  • Materials that biodegrade in home compost also biodegrade in industrial compost, but not necessarily in the opposite direction.

At Colarquim we have a bio-based, biodegradable product and homemade compost! Conoce nuestra nueva línea Bio-Masterbatch.

If you have any questions or require more information, you can contact the Masterbatch Plant located in Sabaneta, Antioquia by phone: +57 (4) 444 80 97 or by e-mail:

Autor: equipo de Investigación Planta MB | 16 de julio de 2021.