What “Biodegradable” Really Means

At Grow-Tech, we are careful about using the word biodegradable to describe our products. In fact, we don’t use it at all. Why? Because generally, there is a difference between what biodegradable actually means and what the general public thinks it means, and we want our messaging to be clear. In determining how to market BioStrate, our biobased growing medium, we were guided by industry professionals and the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides.

Microgreens growing media by Grow-TEchAccording to the latter, “A marketer making an unqualified degradable claim should have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire item will completely break down and return to nature (i.e., decompose into elements found in nature) within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal.” BioStrate needs consistently high temperatures in order to break down in a “reasonably short period of time”.  This condition cannot be met in a landfill and is not likely to be met in a standard home composting system. Therefore, it is not biodegradable after customary disposal.


BioStrate is compostable in an industrial compostingfacility. Again, referring to the Green Guides: “A marketer claiming that an item is compostable should have competent and reliable scientific evidence that all the materials in the item will break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost (e.g., soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner (i.e., in approximately the same time as the materials with which it is composted) in an appropriate composting facility, or in a home compost pile or device.”.

Our scientific evidence passed third party review. BioStrate’s compostability certifications with BPI (U.S.A.) and Din Certco (Europe) mean that our product meets standards for compostability in an industrial facility. These standards are ASTM 6400 in the U.S. and EIN 13432 in Europe.

Our product certifications regarding compostability and biobased let you know what our products are and what they are not. You don’t have to take our word for it. We let third-party certifiers decide.

USDA Certified Biobased ProductAt Grow-Tech, we strive to create products that work and are made from renewable resources with sustainable end-of-life options. We work with both the technology at hand and create new technologies to aid us in this effort. While there is always room for improvement, we take pride in knowing we are heading in the right direction.