Is nylon-4 biodegradable? (5 sustainability factors) 

The article will explain the biodegradability of nylon-4 while also shedding light on topics such as:

  • Sustainability
  • Recycling
  • Composting
  • Natural or non-natural?
  • Precautions

Is nylon-4 biodegradable?

Yes, nylon-4 is biodegradable as has been indicated by several studies. When it comes to nylon-4, the case is pretty much an exception because of the fact that nylon-4 is made from petroleum products and despite it, it is biodegradable. 

However, one comment that must be made here is that the time taken by nylon-4 is slightly longer than other biodegradable products. As a general rule of thumb, biodegradable products must degrade by the action of microbes in 180 days. 

If we explore the case of nylon-4, it is studied that its degradation may require a couple of months. However, even with that, nylon-4 is much better than its counterparts like nylon-11 or nylon-12 which may need several years to degrade. 

Biodegradability can be explained as the degradation or breakdown that is caused by microbes such as bacteria. What happens is that the microbes ingest the natural content of any product and break it down into simpler material that can be made part of nature again. 

Is nylon-4 natural or non-natural?

Nylon-4 is technically non-natural. This is said because it is not present in nature and neither is it derived from plants or animals. 

Nylon-4 is made or rather extracted from fossil fuels and petrochemical products and the general rule of thumb is that such products fall under the category of non-natural and also not that eco-friendly. 

However, the case of nylon-4 is quite an exception because of the fact that despite being non-natural, nylon-4 is biodegradable and usually has far less impact on the environment than other fossil fuel derivatives. 

The most common applications of nylon-4 include being used in sustainable toothbrushes and eco-friendly floss threads. However, the applicabilities of nylon-4 stretch far beyond these basic conformities because of the fact that nylon-4 delivers both utility and eco-friendly aspects. 

Can nylon-4 be recycled? 

Yes, nylon-4 products can most certainly be recycled. The products made from nylon-4 are generally considered eco-friendly and a good fit for recycling. 

Most of the products made from nylon-4 include eco-friendly toothbrushes and dental floss. These products generally are openly accepted for curbside recycling as there are negligible effects (detrimental) associated with the recycling of these products. 

Another benefit that is ensured by recycling is that the nylon-4 products will not be needed to be made from scratch. This will do the environment a good deal. Let us explore the reason. 

It has been expressed that nylon-4 is derived from petrochemicals. Therefore, it will not be incorrect to say that nylon-4 products are dependent on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels. 

Therefore, when more nylon-4 products are manufactured, there is a higher dependency on non-renewable resources. This leads to not only the overconsumption of said resources but also the generation of environmental anomalies such as pollution, climate change, global warming, and deforestation to name a few. 

Therefore, by recycling nylon-4 products, you ensure that these anomalies are avoided. To recycle the nylon-4 products, you can either put them in recycling bins or contact local curbside recycling. 

You may also contact private recycling ventures such as Terracycle et cetera if your local recycling centres do not accept nylon-4 products such as dental floss may not be accepted commonly because of its size. 

Is nylon-4 eco-friendly? (5 factors) 

Yes, nylon-4 can be said to be eco-friendly because of its readily biodegradation which is not seen in the case of its counterparts like nylon-11 or nylon-12. 

The term eco-friendly can be determined and described by some common parameters such as:

  • Is the product made from natural materials?
  • Is the product recyclable?
  • Is the product biodegradable?
  • Can you efficiently reuse and recycle the products?
  • Does the product contribute to the waste problems?

Now, if we explore the case of nylon-4, it can be assessed that it is not made from natural materials and may, in some ways, contribute to the waste problems. 

However, if we develop a comparative frame and compare nylon with other petrochemical products and fossil fuels derivatives; we can easily summarise that nylon-4 is way more eco-friendly due to the fact that it is biodegradable and is used in the manufacture of eco-friendly products. 

Do you need to be careful with nylon-4 products?

Yes, there are two main reasons why you need to be careful and sustainable with nylon-4 products acquisition and usage. The reason include

  • Nylon-4 is made from fossil fuels 
  • Manufacturers may fake nylon-4 use 

Fossil fuels

Nylon-4 is considered to be eco-friendly, sustainable, and biodegradable; but it does not take away the fact that nylon-4 is made from petrochemicals and fossil fuel derivatives. 

Therefore, it is required that you are sustainable and balanced when it comes to the use and consumption of nylon-4 products. 

When more nylon-4 products are manufactured, there is a higher dependency on non-renewable resources. This leads to not only the overconsumption of said resources but also the generation of environmental anomalies such as pollution, climate change, global warming, and deforestation to name a few.

Fake nylon-4 use 

It is also possible that some manufacturers and producers may fake the use and application of nylon-4 in their products to gain market attention. What happens is that manufacturers use other (not so sustainable) nylon variants but lie about the use of nylon-4 to get better sales. 

Therefore, you need to be careful and vigilant from your end to not fall into this jeopardy. If you have doubts about the brand or manufacturer, you can opt for other green alternatives available. 

Since nylon-4 is biodegradable, is it compostable too?

It is easy to think that since nylon-4 is biodegradable, it must be compostable too and some people may make the mistake of putting their nylon-4 products in the compost heap. 

However, the fact of the matter is that nylon-4 can not be put in the compost heap because of one simple reason: it does not have any organic matter inside. 

In order for something to be compostable, it should be organic because the main idea of composting is to increase the organic content of the soil to achieve environmental benefits. However, in the case of nylon-4, it is made from fossil fuels and therefore, there is no organic content to offer. 


It is concluded that nylon-4 is biodegradable despite being made from fossil fuels. The article commented on the non-natural source of nylon-4 and how this plastic is an exception when it comes to sustainability. 

The article also talked about the recycling and composting realities of nylon-4 products and gave reasons why it will not be wrong to call nylon-4 eco-friendly. 

Lastly, the article explained why you need to be careful with the consumption of nylon-4 material which may render environmental anomalies into action. 


  • Tokiwa, Y., Calabia, B. P., Ugwu, C. U., & Aiba, S. (2009). Biodegradability of plastics. International journal of molecular sciences, 10(9), 3722-3742.