Biodegradable vs Compostable vs Recyclable Packaging

Posted March 22, 2023 Biodegradable vs Compostable vs Recyclable

The world is becoming a crazier place with all the climate change. So, are you a business looking to perfect your packaging and looking for better solutions? Your boxes, wraps, and other things must avoid hurting the environment. So, what type of material will suit the best among biodegradable vs. compostable vs. recyclable?

So, this article will give you information about the top materials in these categories and the features of these types. Also, we will try to find out which would be the most eco-friendly, and we will analyze biodegradable vs. recyclable and more.

What is Biodegradable Packaging?

A simple definition of this type of material is that it can perish in natural conditions without any process required. Any matter that decomposes to simple and harmless chemicals without any process required can be considered biodegradable. This condition occurs completely naturally without any human input to achieve this result.

Perishable In Natural Conditions Biodegradable material perishes in natural conditions.
This Happens in Natural Conditions The whole decomposition happens in natural conditions without leaving any toxins.
Decomposition Needs No Procedure Its perishing process does need any input for execution.

So, any product that decomposes this way leaves the place cleaner and does not cause any harmful content. This way, removing this mass can help save space or prevent toxin production without this property. The easier and faster this process completes, the better biodegradable your material will be considered.

Some changes in compostable vs. recyclable make them preferable only when you need a certain one. So, if you need favor boxes that are compostable or recyclable, you can try them.

Top Biodegradable Packaging Materials

Now, everyone knows that such packaging can provide a host of features that matter to the world. But what are the top materials that fall under this umbrella? So, if you want to know about the best ones as a professional in the field, here are some you should know:

  • Cellulose
  • Wooden extracts
  • Recycled cardboard
  • Paper
  • Starch
  • Wheat
  • Packing peanuts
  • Corrugated bubble wrap
  • Gelatin
  • Food and agricultural waste as packaging material
  • Inflatable air pillows
  • Mushroom packaging
  • Biodegradable plastic

So, these are some materials you can use, but only knowing them does not solve the issue. You need to pinpoint some of them to find the best ones for your products. We are going to cover just that in the next section.

Recycled Cardboard

So, cardboard is one of the top materials that solve many environmental problems others don’t. Its efficacy is quite better than others, making it perfect for solutions.

Here are some features that make it super useful:

  • The material comes among the few that decompose within a year in natural conditions. This is how it reduces the total amount of waste you do to landfills and beyond.
  • It can help reduce up to 60 percent of carbon dioxide release.
  • You can save much energy when using it with 90 percent less water.
  • Another benefit for the planet it offers is its feature of recyclability without losing effective use properties.
  • It offers 50% less electricity consumption for manufacturers.

Products like candle boxes can perfect your promotion when you use the right material to build your image and brand.

Packaging Features of Cardboard

Now, we know how this material can be super eco-friendly, but does it offer good features for packaging? So, the answer is it offers these:

  • Protection
  • Cost-effective
  • Flexibility
  • Less weight
  • Easy transport

So, these features make it the perfect solution your packaging would need.

Packing Peanuts

This material also has a great alternative to many harmful ones. So, here are some biodegradability features you need to know:

  • This material is eco-friendly owing to its degradability.
  • At the same time, using this material can save a lot of money.
  • It is among the ones that do not cause any environmental toxins when degrading.
  • The use of packaging peanuts also helps improve the production of your products.
Decomposes fast naturally Such materials would decompose naturally and leave organic and healthy fertilizing materials
Such materials leave no toxins Its big feature would be no residue of toxins
Easy to get rid of Getting rid of such materials is easy as they perish faster and easier naturally

These features can help a professional improve their knowledge about eco-friendly materials.

What is Compostable Packaging Material?

Compostable materials are among the best types in the eco-friendly department. A product that decomposes fast in a natural environment without leaving any toxins is considered compostable.

This property of such products makes them easy to get rid of when they are no more useable.

Top Compostable Materials

Compostability makes products perfect for use as they do not cause any extra waste, so here are some materials that fall under this category:

  • Corn Bioplastic
  • Recycled Paper
  • Bamboo
  • Wheat Straw Fiber
  • Sugarcane Fiber
  • Cellulose

Features of Corn Bioplastic For Packaging

Corn bioplastics are among the top ones you can find for making your goods eco-friendly. So, they offer benefits like toxic freeness and less carbon release into the environment. Also, it is among the ones you can use for food products.


Bamboo is one of the favorite materials for packaging you can find these days. And there are reasons behind it having this fame. So, here are some features bamboo provides for packaging:

  • It provides protection owing to its durability and strength.
  • Also, bamboo offers eco-friendliness in the form of compostability.
  • Its preparation does not cause any carbon release. Instead, it offers oxygen to the environment.
  • Using it allows you an aesthetically pleasing feel for your packaging.
  • It is among the few materials that carry anti-bacterial properties.
  • Another benefit of bamboo is it provides a hygienic environment for food and other products.
  • At the same time, it needs no toxins or bleach during production.
  • The costs spent on bamboo are lower than many of its alternatives.
  • You can use it for multiple needs, making it perfect for better industry choices.
  • Using it allows you sustainability as it grows fast.
Can be recycled These materials are recyclable and can be reused.
Avoid wasting in landfills Recycled products can be reproduced without wasting them in landfills.
Help save resources Using them can help you save resources like energy, cost, water, and others.

Recyclable Products

Recycling packaging materials has been a great process that improves environmental issues. The thing is, when your products can be recycled, you can avoid wasting them in landfills. Also, this way, you can use the same material multiple times before discarding it.

Any material you can repeatedly use with a recycling process is called a recyclable one. This process can help save money, energy, water, and other resources that may be spent on new production of other ones.

Top Recyclable Ones

Now, we have a long list of the ones that offer recyclability. So, here are some you can use for your product production:

  • Aluminum
  • Hemp
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Steel
  • Cardboard
  • Glass


The use of Aluminum offers multiple benefits your products can rely on. You can have a lightweight material that protects against oxygen and other environmental issues. At the same time, it is among the most sturdy and strong ones you can find.

It can protect your goods against fire. Another thing to remember is its easy recyclability and ease of printing on it. Also, it is among the ones you can easily find for use. Another feature of it works for many industries, making it versatile.

Compostable Vs. Biodegradable Vs. Recyclable: The Main Differences

Now, we know the basic things about all these e types of matters you can use for packing your products. Of course, the benefits of all these three are different, but all of them are preferable due to their ability to help the planet. Using any of them can help the planet in some ways.

Compostable may be preferable to recyclable for some reason and vice versa. So, it is up to you what kind of benefits you want. But, at the same time, many would fall under the other categories. So, a compostable product can be biodegradable, and a biodegradable can also be compostable.

Unlike other material types, it needs production that would take energy and other resources. Unfortunately, this production also causes waste and carbon emissions in the environment.

Another thing is such materials would cause waste that ends up in landfills wasting the whole material. Moreover, such products do not even get recycled for many reasons that vary in different areas of the world. This way, they end up in landfills, unlike biodegradable and compostable ones.

Biodegradable materials are easy to eliminate without environmental toxins, while biodegradable may need other SOPs. The basic difference is in the way they are treated differently. At the same time, you can use compostable materials as organic content that helps as fertilizers.

Your industry has much to do with the matter you want to use. So, learn if your business needs a certain type among your choices.

Packing Your Solutions With The Best Materials

Packaging Hub is your one-stop shop for creating the most eye-catchy and perfect packaging solutions. We take care of your needs and bring the most reliable solutions. Order now, and our team will surely be able to offer the most robust designs and products your business deserves.

Author Image
Steve Harsh
Steve Harsh, a packaging and printing expert who has been working in the field for over a decade. It has been my privilege to write on this topic, which I have been doing for years to help people learn about this essential field that helps millions achieve their business goals.

The Best Custom Boxes from the Experts

Order your stylish and durable custom boxes and packaging from a team of industry experts.

Get a Quote Today

Want to order custom packaging and boxes for your products? Then get your free quote today! Get a Free Qoute