The article will discuss the biodegradability of chalk while also shedding light on topics such as
- Is chalk biodegradable?
- Is chalk eco-friendly?
- How to sustainably use chalk?
- What are some eco-friendly brands?
Is chalk biodegradable?
The exact answer to it will vary based on the manufacturers of chalk. If the chalk is made from plain and simple ingredients then yes, it will be biodegradable.
However, incidentally and unfortunately, this is not the case in many cases. Most commercial chalks also make use of synthetic ingredients such as plasticisers or artificial colours.
The use and involvement of these materials will render the chalk non-biodegradable because the microbes will not be able to break down the chalk.
What are the common ingredients?
To have a better grasp of the biodegradation of chalk, it is essential to know the ingredients that are commonly used to make chalk.
The most common ingredients involve limestone and gypsum. As it turns out, there are two major types of chalks out there. One is the blackboard chalk that you may remember from the ’90s movies and the other is the sidewalk chalk that is still used in many festivities.
Sidewalk chalk is usually made from gypsum whereas blackboard chalk involves the use of limestone. However, this is not all. There are also other and sadly synthetic materials that may be used.
For example, most sidewalk chalks are coloured and therefore, will most likely involve the use of artificial colours to grasp the right utility.
Also, there is the use of elements and materials such as plasticisers to improve the utility. However, the use of such synthetic materials may deliver good utility, but will be bad for the environment.
Is chalk eco-friendly?
This section can be explained from a variety of frames. For example, one of the factors that we need to keep in mind is the production stage, the next is the use stage and lastly, we have the disposal stage. Let us deliberate on all these stages to develop a rigid and unquestionable stance on the eco-friendliness of chalk.
The production stage
As discussed in the previous sections, the major or key ingredients used to make chalk include limestone and gypsum.
While these materials are naturally occurring, the plight here is that such materials need to be mined.
It is a known fact that mining is an energy-intensive process and will lead to environmental anomalies such as pollution and global warming.
The machinery and equipment used for mining will lead to the consumption of fossil fuels and it is a known fact that fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy. It is also established that the use of fossil fuels results in the release of harmful gases and fumes that directly lead to environmental problems such as global warming and pollution.
Another downside that is usually associated with mining is human rights violations. In many instances, mining is done at the expense of human rights violations and this is opposite to the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.
The usage stage
Let us move on to the use stage. This stage is more or less inert but one factor that creates the difference is the way a certain material or product is used and utilised.
At this stage, all you need to do is carefully and wholly use the chalk and make sure that the chalk is not put to waste.
If you use the chalk in a conservative and eco-friendly manner, then this stage would not affect the environment in an extreme manner.
Lastly, we have the disposal stage. As stanced before as well, this stage will vary based on the materials used to make chalk. If the chalk is made from natural materials only, it will be biodegradable and therefore, will not lead to waste issues.
However, if the chalk involves the use of synthetic materials, then there will be waste issues rendered and this will impact the environment in a negative and degradative way.
How to sustainably use chalk?
It was predicted in the last section that the use of chalk can also be made eco-friendly. For example, one of the things that you can do is to make sure that the chalk is used fully. This can be achieved by two main steps
- Using a chalk holder
- Utilising the leftover chalk
If you use a chalk holder, then you can use the entire stick of the chalk, even the uncomfortable end that many of us simply throw away. This way, you ensure that the chalk is used fully.
Another thing you can do is to properly utilise the leftover chalk that many simply throw away by considering it to be completely useless. However, the fact of the matter is that there are many uses that you can associate with the leftover chalk such as
- Use as a paint
- Replace WD-40 use
- Prevent jewellery from tarnishing
- Get rid of grease stains
- Use as paper art
These are some of the functions and uses that you can extract from leftover chalk. You may need to twerk a bit such as crushing and adding some water but those hiccups are way better than the environmental stress that is caused when chalk is used improperly.
What are some eco-friendly options?
As expressed, chalk may be eco-friendly or not based on the materials used to make chalk and therefore, it is important to deliberate this part.
Below are some options that make use of natural materials, avoid the use of synthetic materials and use plant-based colours and paints to minimise the toll on the environment
- Eco kids
- We Can too
- Urban Infant
- Climbing addicts
It is concluded that if chalk is made from plain and simple ingredients then yes, it will be biodegradable. However, incidentally and unfortunately, this is not the case in many cases. Most commercial chalks also make use of synthetic ingredients such as plasticisers or artificial colours.
The article discussed the eco-friendly aspects and parameters of chalk and also gave ways to sustainably use chalk. Lastly, green and eco-friendly market options were also given.
- (April 12, 2022). Is chalk toxic? Retrieved from: https://www.thefiltery.com/non-toxic-sidewalk-chalk/#Toxic_Ingredients_in_Chalk
- (November 22, 2022). Is sidewalk chalk bad for the environment? Retrieved from: https://www.ourendangeredworld.com/eco/is-sidewalk-chalk-bad-for-the-environment/
- Lusinski, Natalia. (April 11, 2016). 11 alternate uses for chalk. Retrieved from: https://www.simplemost.com/brilliant-alternative-uses-for-chalk-around-your-home/