Richie Bags, the pioneering business house that had popularized the use of jute and cotton handbags all over our lonesome planet takes pleasure in elucidating some of the less known qualities of their fast selling products, while referring to their biodegradable features.
To begin with, their spokesperson emphasizes that “our products are biodegradable and are not compostable, as others often may think.” “But what difference does it make?” questioned a few.
“In typical technical parlance, the word biodegradable is distinct in sense from compostable since the former simply denotes a substance that is capable of being decomposed by bacteria and/or sundry other living organisms, while the latter are defined as able to decompose in aerobic environments maintained under specific unambiguous temperature and humidity conditions. In other words, compostable refers to substances that are capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site such that the substance is not visually distinguishable, while breaking down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable substances.” “Providentially, our products do not fall into this category,” insisted the Richie Bags spokesperson.
It’s Often A Misnomer
“People often look at biodegradable as something magical” commented the Richie Bags coordinator, even though the term is broadly used, according to Ramani Narayan, chemical engineer at Michigan State University in East Lansing, as also science consultant to the Biodegradable Plastics Institute. “This is the most used and abused word in our dictionary right now”, he added. Simply calling something biodegradable without defining in what environment it is going to be biodegradable and in what time period it is going to degrade can be very misleading and deceptive. Take for example, in the Great Pacific garbage patch, biodegradable break up into small pieces that can more easily enter the food chain by being consumed.
Illegal, If Not Substantiated By Environmental Impact
In 2007, the State of California essentially made the term “biodegradable bags” illegal, unless such terms are “substantiated by competent and reliable evidence to prevent deceiving or misleading consumers about environmental impact of degradable, compostable, and biodegradable plastic bags, food service ware, and packaging.”
In 2010, an Australian manufacturer of plastic bags who made unsubstantiated or unqualified claims about biodegradability was fined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is the Australian equivalent of the FTC.
This post provides a comparative study of biodegradable plastic bags that are also competing with biodegradable jute and cotton bags made and marketed by globally recognized Richie bags since long.