The term “Biodegradable” is defined as capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. Many companies often claim that they offer biodegradable packaging, but in the end for cardboard and packaging peanuts to be truly environmentally friendly, there are a couple of steps that must occur.
According to ehow.com, cardboard is naturally biodegradable, but when treated with chemicals and other problematic substances, it can make it harder for natural living organisms to break the material down. Cardboard’s decomposition is all relative to three major factors, the first being the type of cardboard. Heavily processed cardboard, such as milk cartons, are coated with wax to become more resistant towards liquid, thus slowing down the decomposition. With corrugated cardboard, since it is not as pressed and processed, it will break down significantly quicker. The second factor in cardboard decomposition is the state of the cardboard. The farther down the line a piece of cardboard is to being broken down, the more biodegradable it becomes. Ripping or shredding cardboard increases the speed of decomposition greatly. The more surface area the cardboard has exposed to the decomposing substances, the more efficiently these decomposers can take the cardboard apart. Lastly, the surrounding environment takes effect in the decomposition of cardboard. If an environment is naturally moister and wetter, the cardboard will tear easier, thus leading to quicker decomposition. In the end, when a piece of cardboard is used as mulch or specifically shredded and soaked to decompose efficiently – biodegradation occurs quickly, with the majority of cardboard completely broken down within just three months