Testing the Biodegradability of Separate Brand Plates

1571 words (6 pages) Essay in Environmental Sciences

23/09/19 Environmental Sciences Reference this

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Is Biodegradable Worth

The Dough?

Table of Contents


  1. Abstract
  2. Research Pages
  3. Research Pages
  4. Biblical Application
  5. Experimental Section
  6. Experimental Section
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works Cited


In this experiment the biodegradability of separate brand plates are tested. Each are contained in a tray of soil. During each test the plates are checked for any signs of decomposition. On the initial and final check the diameter of each plate is given to promote quantitative data. Both a table and graph are made for each plates diameter. Among the three plates, one is biodegradable. The biodegradable plate was found to decompose at a faster rate. Throughout each test human error could have played a part in measuring and visualizing change in the decomposition of each plate.

Research Pages

There are products on the market today that will sit in a landfill for thousands of years. Most people buy items without thinking about the problem of landfills in America. Biodegradable products can help both Earth and mankind through natural decomposition, the revitalising of soil and a safe means of waste disposal. Most biodegradable products can be found in common stores. Biodegradable products an also be obtained from online sources. The availability of options gives customers a wide range of accessibility. There is no excuse for not purchasing products that decompose.

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Biodegradable products have the ability to break down, or decompose back into nature (green good). Once broken down the remaining substance can be reused as the building blocks for other living organisms. Nature can biodegrade anything naturally made, but humans often alter the process. Nature has specific micro-organisms assigned to break down different compounds(green good). Man made products are not naturally assigned to any of these organisms, meaning man made products can not be defined as biodegradable. Scenarios of this manner actually confuse nature in the sense of pollution. Similar to a disease that the human body cannot fight off.

  There are special conditions for proper decomposition to occur. A few of these conditions include the presence of oxygen, moisture, and relatively high temperatures. Other circumstances can speed the decomposition process up, such as the presence of bacteria and the object being in a natural setting(green good). Products made from plants, or bio-plastics, are some of the most efficient biodegradable items (bioplastics). Decomposition will come natural to

bio-plastics because of micro-organisms already assigned to the natural elements. Bio- plastics cost 10-20% more, on average, than leading petroleum based products (bioplastics). Bio-products come not only with a larger price tag, but also the satisfaction of knowing that the purchased items will not sit in a landfill for decades.

 Compost items can often be confused with biodegradable products but this is not always the case. Although most items that fall under biodegradable product categories also can be considered compostable, there is a distinction. Compostable materials are solids that can decompose into soil (composting guru). The final product is referred to as organic waste, once decomposed. Composting in a garden area could benefit the surrounding pants tremendously in that there will be fresh, natural soil to house the root systems. Many household items can be used in compost, to include: Kitty litter, dryer lint, dog food, and many other simple products (composting guru).

 To expand on the previously stated problem; landfills are becoming an increasingly large issue in the United States (wakeham landfills). Across the country there are large piles of waste that due to conditions or structuring will never decompose. This only adds to the issue of the limited land supply. Large landfills hurt the limited land that is not yet covered by urban life. There are organizations that try to help in this delima, but the amount of trash produced by humans in  America cannot be prevented or halted.

Biblical Application

 In Genesis 1:26, God gave humans the creation mandate. The creation mandate is a responsibility to mankind to take care and have dominion over the earth and all inhabitants. Man must research and investigate to get a better idea of the earth and surrounding factors in order to successfully fulfill this command. God entrusted man with this task, so furthering research is the best tool for bettering humans dominion over the earth. Throughout the world there are problems that can and must be solved. As humans, given the responsibility of dominion, research and development can almost be considered Biblical

Experimental Section

Methods and Materials

 The aluminum trays are filled with potting soil. Each tray also has a plate inserted. One holds the biodegradable plate, while the other two trays contain two separate on brand paper plates. Holes are drilled into each tray to create air flow. The plates in the trays are examined bi-weekly for signs of decomposition. On the initial and final examination, each of the plates diameter are measured for a quantitative assessment of possible decomposition. Small amounts of water are added on each check to keep moisture present. On October 14, 2018 the plates were left alone for a four week period. This is done to see if an extended time would progress decomposition. This method is used throughout the rest of the experiment.

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 To keep the experiment simple, three basic plastic trays and store bought potting soil are used. The objects tested consisted of a single biodegradable plate and two different on brand paper plates. Other materials included water and a tape measure. A phone was used to take initial and final pictures.


 Throughout the experiment each plate underwent the same testing conditions. When examined, the biodegradable plate appeared to be weaker than the other plates. Later in the

experiment the thinner paper plate became weaker as well. The heavy duty paper plate did not lose shape, but instead color. After eight weeks of testing the biodegradable plate tore slightly when extracted from the tray. Along with the tear, this plate also appeared to have lost matter

around the edge. At this point in the experiment, both the biodegradable and the thin plate could be described as “soggy”. Four weeks later, when examined the biodegradable plate tore in half and appeared have continued weakening. The same was evident of the thin plate. As far as quantitative data, the biodegradable plate was the only change. Initially measured at 8 ⅞ inches, the plate finally measure as 8 ½ inches. The other two plates had no change in measurement.


 The results of this experiment can obviously be seen as a success in that there is direct correlation with the previoslystated hypothesis. The biodegradable plate did not completely decompose, as expected, but did show obvious signs of decomposition whereas the other plates did not. This is significant in that the label on the package stating the product is biodegradable is true. Though the results are pleasing, there was mostly likely human error. In examining the plate, details could have been missed. As far as measuring the plates, there is little room for error in that the plates were measured with the same tool at the same time in the same fashion. To improve this experiment, more time and better equipment would be beneficial, but with simple materials the decomposition process was still shown. There are possible follow up experiments that can be done to further examine the biodegradability of the plates.


The plates used were able to show signs of decomposition in a fairly short amount of time. Without certain factors including the holes in the trays or the water added each test, there may have been different results. The plates underwent testing with these factors at an attempt to imitate true decomposition conditions. Though the on brand plates did not show signs of

decomposition, there is most likely a chance with more time. The biodegradable plate began to decompose at a faster rate, showing that the extra cost is worth the buy.   

Works Cited

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