The article will explain the biodegradability of chipboards while also covering topics such as
- Best disposal methods
- Sustainable use
Are Chipboards biodegradable?
Chipboards, also known as Particle Boards, usually are not biodegradable because of the presence of synthetic glues.
To know about biodegradability, it is important to know about the materials that make up a particular product or material.
If we explore the materials that make chipboards, there are two main elements that will get highlighted. These include wood and glue.
Now, if one were to make a guess, it would be logical to say that chipboards are biodegradable because they are made from wood and wood is derived from nature. It is a simple story here.
However, to our surprise, the story is not as simple as it may seem because the catch here is that the use of materials is not only limited to wood but also the glues or adhesives, which in many cases, are sourced from synthetic sources.
In many cases, chipboards are made from wood and epoxy resin. The use of synthetic glues is what turns the tables upside down because chipboards made from synthetic glues will not biodegrade as the synthetic glues have no organic inside that can be feasted by the microbes.
Is that all?
It is not the case entirely. There will be some cases, although very rare, where chipboards will be made from natural glues (plant-based or animal-based). Such chipboards would be readily biodegradable and one will not be reluctant to call such chipboards eco-friendly.
However, the plight here is that synthetic glues usually deliver better utility and have a cost advantage that is not bridged when natural adhesives are used. This makes many consumers and producers prefer synthetic glues over natural making chipboards non-biodegradable and one step closer to being non-eco-friendly.
Can you compost chipboards?
Only those chipboards can be composted that are made from natural (plant-based or animal-based) adhesives while the ones made from synthetic adhesives can neither biodegrade nor can be put in the compost pile.
Therefore, let us cover how to compost chipboards at home made from natural adhesives. There are two options available. One is to have the chipboards (along with other compostable material) sent to a commercial composting facility. You will not need to do anything else in this regard.
However, if you plan on being more authoritative, you can also choose to compost at home by following the given steps
- Select a suitable and accessible place for composting
- Make a compost heap
- Add the boards along with other compostable material
- Be sure to make an alternate ratio of brown and green matter. To know more, explore the EPA composting website
- Mix and aerate the heap every week
- The compost should be ready within a few (5-8) months
- Use the compost as a natural fertiliser
Can you recycle chipboards?
Yes, chipboards can definitely be upcycled or recycled. Not only is this possible, it is also recommended as it will be in most cases (of non-biodegradable material).
The used chipboards can be put to many good uses because there are hundreds of ways you can repurpose and upcycle your used chipboards as the quality will not disintegrate over time.
However, if you think that the used chipboards are of no use to you, then you can also sign up for either giving it to someone else who may put it to good use. You can also donate the used chipboards along with other materials to the less privileged.
If upcycling and repurposing are not your forte, then you can consider recycling chipboards. The chipboards can be commercially recycled and this will ensure that these chipboards, being biodegradable in nature, do not end up in landfills or are incinerated.
This can be done or achieved through a number of steps. If there are recycling bins around, you can put chipboard in those bins.
You can also contact the local curbside recycling programs to schedule either a drop-off or a pick-up of chipboards.
However, one thing is that you need to ensure that the chipboards are cleaned and there is no contamination of any sort or else the recycling facility might be compromised.
What is the best disposal method for chipboards?
The common disposal methods of chipboards include incineration and landfilling but both of these methods are not recommended when environmental concerns are kept in mind.
This is because when chipboards are landfilled, they will contribute to waste accumulation and will stay there for many years. This is bad because already there are space issues and waste mismanagement crisis.
The incineration of chipboards is also not recommended because this will introduce toxic and harmful fumes and GHGs into the atmosphere that will contribute to environmental problems such as global warming et cetera.
Therefore, the best disposal methods for chipboards include:
How to be more sustainable with chipboard use?
There are two main factors that one could be mindful of. These include
- To buy green chipboards
- To buy chipboards made from local wood as compared to imported wood as transportation will pollute the environment
- To properly dispose of chipboards
When buying chipboards, one needs to ensure that the chipboards are made from natural adhesives so that those can be composted at the end of their life cycle. One can also look for green certifications such as
- Forest Stewardship Council
- Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification:
Also, when the chipboards are used, we can be sustainable with the disposal by resorting to green options given the previous sections that mainly included recycling and reusing.
It is concluded that chipboards usually are not biodegradable because of the presence of synthetic glues.
However, that is not the case entirely. There will be some cases, although very rare, where chipboards will be made from natural glues (plant-based or animal-based). Such chipboards would be readily biodegradable and one will not be reluctant to call such chipboards eco-friendly.
The article discussed the composting of green chipboards and also gave steps to compost at home. More than that, the article deliberated on the right disposal options such as reusing, recycling, and upcycling.
The article also gave green tips to be more sustainable with chipboard consumption, purchase, use, and disposal and that included looking for certifications, natural adhesives, and sustainable disposal practices.
- Nguyen, Quynh. How Sustainable Is Particle Board (LDF)? Retrieved from: https://impactful.ninja/how-sustainable-is-particle-board-ldf/
- Is Epoxy Resin eco-friendly? Retrieved from: https://www.ourendangeredworld.com/eco/is-epoxy-resin-bad-for-the-environment/
- PEFC. Retrieved from: https://www.pefc.org/
- Forest Stewardship Council. Retrieved from: https://fsc.org/en