According to Rutgers University, “Sustainable materials are materials used throughout our consumer and industrial economy which can be produced in required volumes without depleting non-renewable resources.” Conversations surrounding the sustainability of fiber solutions often takes a logical detour leading to questions surrounding biodegradability. Many assume that if something is branded “biodegradable” that no other circumstances need to be addressed in order for this naturally occurring, scientific process to effectively take place.More on Sustainability
The presence of oxygen aids in decomposition. Capped landfills or items sealed inside industrial garbage bags will severely restrict the process of decomposition – ultimately preventing sustainable solutions from being truly sustainable.
But the science surrounding the biodegradability of sustainable fiber solutions is immediately restricted when such products are sealed and disposed of in industrial garbage bags, which are then tossed into dumpsters headed for landfills. According to an EarthTalk column, “Organic materials ‘biodegrade’ when they are broken down by other living organisms (such as fungi, bacteria or other microbes) into their constituent parts, which are in turn recycled by nature as the building blocks for new life. The process can occur aerobically (with the aid of oxygen) or anaerobically (without oxygen). Substances break down much faster under aerobic conditions, as oxygen helps break the molecules apart, a process called oxidation.”
Sustainable fiber solutions are designed to be safely recycled through traditional paper programs to help support a more circular economy environment.
An archeological study of landfills conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona uncovered still-recognizable 25-year-old hot dogs, corncobs and grapes in landfills, as well as 50-year-old newspapers that were still readable. The cause being directly attributed to the presence of an anaerobic process (without oxygen). Yes, biodegrading is a naturally occurring, scientific process. But sustainable fiber solutions should NEVER be discarded in sealed industrial garbage bags, which will only:
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