Bio degradable VS recyclable

Which is more preferred?

I was re-reading that article about cell-grown technology:

One main advantage addressed in the article is bio-degradibility.
Then I began to think about which is preferred, bio degradibility or recyclibility. ( I don’t even know if there is such a word)

Anyways, here’s how I think:

Environmental aspect:
Less stress in terms of land filling and impact to the environment. Less stress on depleting natural resources since a part of it is being supplied by recycled material.

More costly to recycle.

Environmental aspect:
Although it goes to nothing, my main concern is how can we be sure that the degraded material is totally harmless to the surrounding. What if mutation takes place? Will it be a disaster to the habitate? Also, the landfill event itself is an impact to the environment.

Cheaper to landfill than to recycle and process. The mentality of not bearing any direct responsibility makes everything sound easier.

So what else is there to consider?
What’s your take on this?

I’m rushing off to lunch, perhaps I will post more later.


no replies since 2004? boaa…does designers do not care anymore about their environment anymore :slight_smile: I thought designers has a responsibility too in what the designed. Most of consumer good will ended as garbage too :slight_smile:)

I would prefer biodegradable, as long those material comes from bio waste of other production.

I know this is quite a bit late, but I’m just gettin’ here-

First off, everything is pretty much bio-degradable, given enough time (sometimes centuries). Also current landfill practices in the US are to take all waste and basically surround it with compacted clay and an HDPE liner so nothing harmful can leach into the soil and spoil the ground water.
This also means that even easily biodegradable materials will not break down at all. There are instances where newspapers are still readable after 40+ years of being in a landfill, and carrots still bright orange in the center.

So making a product biodegradable doesn’t mean that it is necessarily better for the environment if it is still going to end up in a landfill. You really have to look at the complete lifcycle of your product, from manufacture, transportation, and especially the end of life part, to determine the “greenest” methods. How much fuel is used up on a daily basis just by garbage/recycling trucks? Also as you mentioned, what is the chemical make-up of the material as it breaks down? Sometimes this may be more harmful than the original material. All things to consider, although landfill practices may be changing.

I really think the McDonough and Braungarts “Cradle to Cradle” philosophy has much potential, in that they propose products that are designed to be re-used as opposed to re-cycled or landfilled. Building on this is the way to go.

Here is a site that has some great links at the bottom to help you out-