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When reading the labels of the products in your bathroom you are bound to notice claims of “Sustainable”, “Biodegradable” and “Compostable”. These terms are sometimes used synonymously but do they all actually mean the same thing? Short answer: No. 

So let’s break down what the difference is between these words so we see what the difference is between conventional and sustainable products.

Period Care Waste

In an article by Global Citizen, in the US alone, we throw away 12 billion pad, 7 billion tampons, which creates a carbon footprint of 12 pounds of carbon dioxide. Period products will generate about 200,000 metric tons of waste annually. These plastic and non-compostable materials will take anywhere from 500 to 800 years to decompose. That is why we made a better solution with pads that are plant based, and from infinitely renewable plant based sources.

Sustainable 

Sustainability is all about balance between environmental health, social equity and economic vitality. When something is labeled as “Sustainable” it means that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the Earth or the future generations to meet their needs, according to the UN world commission on Environment and Development. For example, plastic is not sustainable because we do not have enough space to safely throw away billions of pounds forever, but glass and paper are because of their natural origins and ability to biodegrade quickly or even compost.

Biodegradable VS Compostable

In reality everything is biodegradable. BUT the timeline matters. Most pads break down in 5 centuries, while Rif pads break down in less than a year! That is because they are plant based and made out of compost grade materials. Biodegradability is important but it’s not perfect. Also let’s note that when biodegradable products end up in landfills, they are buried under waste and aren’t able to decompose on that quick timeline. 

The main difference between biodegradable and compostable is that perfect conditions or human intervention is needed in the latter. Compostable products can biodegrade when humans contribute water, oxygen, and organic matter necessary to break materials down to its basic elements. 

Make sure to read labels, learn what materials mean and watch out for greenwashing!

With love, 

Rebecca