Is ABS biodegradable? (11 aspects that make ABS bad)  

The article will talk about the biodegradability of ABS and will also cover topics such as

  • Recycling
  • Upcycling
  • Sustainability
  • Green alternatives 
  • Biodegradation time 

Is ABS biodegradable?

No, ABS is not classified as biodegradable because it is not derived from nature. Rather, it is a synthetic polymer that is made from monomers derived from fossil fuels. 

The rule of thumb regarding biodegradability is that naturally derived materials are more prone to be degraded by microbes; whereas, non-natural materials would not break down that easily. 

In the case of ABS material, there is another factor that advocates in favour of ABS being non-biodegradable as it is seen and observed that ABS production results in the generation of harmful fumes and the consumption of non-renewable resources. 

Therefore, by considering the given facts, it is concluded that ABS is not biodegradable and may require up to a thousand years to degrade by microbes. Whereas, the time frame set for biodegradable material is about 180 days. 

Can ABS be recycled?

It is possible to recycle ABS material but it is also a known fact that the recycling of ABS material may not be that widespread and openly accepted. 

One of the most frequent questions that are asked in association with the biodegradability of ABS is the possibility of ABS being recyclable or not. When it comes to that, there is both good news and bad news. 

The reason why recycling is so preferred and inquired about is the fact that recycling is one very efficient way to ensure that the non-biodegradable waste does not end up in landfills and rather is utilised well. 

The next big question is how to recycle. The first thing that you need to do is to check with your local recycling centre. If they accept ABS plastic, then bingo. All you need to do is to have your ABS waste dropped off or picked up by the recycling centre. 

If your local recycling centre does not accept ABS material, then you are left with two options. One is to either contact private ventures that may accept recycling ABS plastics. However, you will need to go some steps beyond that. 

If you are not willing to go this far, all you can do is treat ABS as regular waste. The fate of this regular waste will either be in landfills or incineration. 

Is ABS eco-friendly? (11 aspects that make ABS bad)  

No, ABS cannot be considered an eco-friendly material because of the following points:

  • The processing of ABS can also be toxic and hazardous to human life and health
  • ABS is not that eco-friendly as compared to its counterparts such as PLA  
  • The production of ABS requires tons of non-renewable energy 
  • The production of ABS happens at the cost of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels 
  • The production of ABS results in the emission of harmful fumes that may damage the environment. It is the result of these fumes that it is advised to manufacture ABS products in closed and controlled setups 
  • The disposal of ABS is not eco-friendly 
  • ABS is non-biodegradable 
  • The recycling of ABS may not be openly accepted
  • ABS material is not compostable 
  • ABS may contribute to waste problems by remaining in landfills for 1000 years or so
  • ABS may damage human health and can cause irritation

Can ABS be replaced? 

Since it has been established that the use, production and disposal of ABS are not sustainable or eco-friendly, a natural question that should come to the mind of an eco-directed individual is what can be used instead? 

When it comes to that, some options can be considered and relied upon. For example, owing to the increased environmental concerns and eco-paradigms, there have been green substitutes for most commercial and synthetic products. 

The same is the case with ABS. As per studies, there is a new type of polymer introduced in the market Treva. Treva is made from cellulose-based plastics. More than that, Treva also sources from sustainably managed forests to make sure that the cellulose source also does not cause fervent cutting of trees. 

It is just the start. With the increasing eco-concerns, many greener substitutes are expected to take control that will deliver similar or even better utility but not at the cost of our environment. 

What is needed is the necessary green mindset that people and consumers need to have. Only then can we, as a society, progress to a clean, green future. 

Can ABS be reused & repurposed?

It has been established that the recycling of ABS may not be a feasible option. Therefore, what can be considered instead is upcycling. Upcycling means that the material is reused and repurposed without making any significant changes to it. Yes, it is possible to upcycle ABS products depending on the type of ABS product.

Certain options include:

  • ABS trimmings 
  • ABS sheets 
  • DIY projects 

The basic idea here is to reuse ABS waste efficiently to make sure that it is utilised in the best way possible so that ABS waste generation may be avoided. 

This is said because most likely, ABS is likely to end up in landfills or incinerated. If you dispose of ABS in landfills, it will require up to 1000 years to degrade. 


It is concluded that ABS is not biodegradable since it is a synthetic polymer derived from fossil fuels and therefore, may require up to 1000 years to decompose. 

Since ABS is non-biodegradable, it is also not possible to compost it. ABS is likely to end up in landfills or incinerated. If you dispose of ABS in landfills, it will stay there for many years. 

In light of these points, ABS is regarded as not eco-friendly and therefore greener alternatives were given. 11 aspects that advocated in favour of ABS being non-eco-friendly were also shed light upon.