What is Biodegradation?

Biodegradation is frequently confused with compositing. Although both processes involve the decomposition of textiles, the basic conditions of the two methods differ significantly.

Biodegradation describes the biological breakdown of a product by microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria in the presence of oxygen. The test for biodegradability that the Hohenstein Institute has developed assesses the aerobic breakdown of textile products over a defined period of time by burying them in the soil under controlled conditions. "Controlled" means that sufficient quantities of oxygen and microorganisms are present in the soil, and the bacteria use a range of biological mechanisms for breaking down materials made of natural or synthetic fibres.

It is important to ensure that products intended to be deposited in landfill sites or composted will break down in the soil and that any residues remaining from textile finishes do not have a negative impact on the soil.

Objectively examined, independently and reliably assessed:
Products, of which the residues are verifiably classified as ecotoxicologically harmless in the test assessment, can subsequently be advertised with the labelling. The Hohenstein certificate for the B2B communication has the purpose of quality assurance and product optimisation, provides e.g. a neutral basis for the product comparability and thereby helps with the supplier selection.

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