Many plastics are biodegradable, however, the common plastics are often not. Plastics degrade in UV sunlight and UV degraded plastic is biodegradable. It can take a long time for these to biodegrade, usually varying between 50-500 years depending on the environmental conditions.
Always check whether the time quoted for a material to biograde is based on sea water, landfill (anaerobic), soil (cold composting), hot composting (aerobic), exposed to sun etc.
|Miscellaneous Materials ||Will it Decay ||Cold |
|HOTBIN Compost ||Rate of decay in the HOTBIN ||Comments |
|Glass ||No ||No ||No ||- || |
|Metals ||No ||No ||No ||- ||Metals degrade but do not biodegrade. |
|Plastics (acetates, PVC, PU, PLA, Polyesters, nylon) ||Yes/No ||No ||No ||Slow ||These plastics slowly biodegrade. Times are measured in months to 50 years depending on the size of the pieces and the environmental conditions. |
|Plastics (PP, PE, PET, Polystrene) ||Yes/No ||No ||No ||Very slow ||These plastics degrade in UV sunlight and UV degraded plastic is then biodegradable. Times are measured in 50-500 years depending on the size of the pieces and the environmental conditions. |
|Rubber, latex gloves and products ||Yes ||Not Advised ||Yes ||Slow ||Natural latex (and synthetic latex) is biodegradable and compostable. |
|Vulcanised rubber (e.g. tyres) ||Yes ||No ||No ||Very slow ||The vulcanised rubber is very slow to degrade and/or biodegrade. |