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PrimeWare’s Definition of Biodegradable

Posted in Uncategorized by primeware on November 12, 2009

Biodegradable means that the product will break down into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass in a reasonable amount of time. “Biodegradable” has no legal definition or enforcement, so many manufacturers use the term loosely. Biodegradable products can be thrown in the garbage, but remember that landfills lack the microorganisms needed to help break down these products, so keep waste at a minimum as much as possible.

Is this similar to your definition of biodegradable? How would you define it?

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2 Responses to 'PrimeWare’s Definition of Biodegradable'

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  1. Andy S. said,


    Your definition of biodegradable is extremely broad, and you are making a very bold statement when you say ““Biodegradable” has no legal definition or enforcement.” I am confident that the FTC will disagree with you!

    (See here:

    I think your organization would benefit greatly by looking into ISO 14851, 14852, and 14855.

    Andy S.

    • primeware said,

      Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your response and opinion. Our definition is broad because there is no specific time the products will biodegrade. I did some research about the FTC’s thoughts and although they have “issued some general guidelines on what types of products qualify as legitimately biodegradable, and has even sued companies for unsubstantiated, misleading and/or deceptive use of the term on product labels”, there is no legal definition on “biodegradable” products.

      “According to the FTC, only products that contain materials that “break down and decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short amount of time when they are exposed to air, moisture and bacteria or other organisms” should be marketed as “biodegradable.” But the FTC acknowledges that even products appropriately-labeled as biodegradable may not break down easily if they are buried under a landfill or are otherwise not exposed to sunlight, air and moisture, the key agents of biodegradation.”

      I looked at the link you sent, and have seen that article before. There are definitely companies that make deceptive claims and that is not right. The FTC is doing their job of finding what products are truly biodegradable and which are not, but there is no “legal definition”. There are a lot of companies out there claiming their products are biodegradable because of the “green” movement, and I think it is important to do more research to find out their guidelines for that claim.

      As for ISO-14851, 14852, and 14855 that is dealing with plastics. Our company does not deal with plastics at all. Our products are all made out of bagasse (a byproduct of the sugarcane refining process). We are certified by ISO 9001 (Quality Management Standard) and 14001 (Environmental Management Standard), which deal with our products. We are also BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) Certified, and meet FDA standards.

      We appreciate your reply and hope this helps clear things up for you.

      Please check out this article on FTC’s website: GUIDES FOR THE USE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMS:

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