According to America’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Green Guides (link opens to new window), a company or person can only claim an item is biodegradable if they can provide scientific evidence that the “product or package will completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposable.” The FTC defines “a reasonably short period of time” as one year. Items that have to be disposed of in a landfill, incinerator, or recycling facility are not biodegradable. Only those items that can safely breakdown in open air or in water are biodegradable.

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