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Biodegradable

Biodegradable

This term refers to refuse that can be broken down with natural processes created by living organisms. Sometimes the process requires oxygen, and other times it does not (though oxygen vastly speeds up the process).

Biodegradable material originates from plant or animal matter, and can be turned back into mineral by natural processes. So paper would be considered biodegradable, whereas plastic would not. There are "biodegradable plastics" but they must compost in an industrial facility. Other plastics take thousands of years to break down (such as those used in many plastic bags).

Submitted by SuperGreenMe on Sep 21, 2008