biodegradable

adjective
bio·​de·​grad·​able | \ ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-di-ˈgrā-də-bəl How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \

Definition of biodegradable

: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things (such as microorganisms) biodegradable trash bags

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Other Words from biodegradable

biodegradability \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​di-​ˌgrā-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \ noun
biodegradable noun, plural biodegradables
"… we would never discourage the development of technologies that promote recyclables or biodegradables. [=biodegradable materials]" — Ruth Lampi
biodegradation \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​ˌde-​grə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \ noun
biodegrade \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​di-​ˈgrād How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \ verb

Did You Know?

In biodegradable, with its root grad, "to step or move", and its prefix de- "downward", we get an adjective describing things that can be broken down into basic substances through normal environmental processes. Animal and plant products are normally biodegradable, but mineral substances such as metals, glass, and plastics usually are not. Newly developed biodegradable plastics are now appearing in numerous products. However, "biodegradable" products can vary greatly in how long they take to break down. A loaf of bread may require only a couple of weeks, and a piece of paper may vanish in a couple of months, but some "biodegradable" plastic milk cartons may take four or five years.

Examples of biodegradable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The device, which uses biodegradable pods, was conceived of by Joey Roth, whose first foray into product design, in 2007, culminated in the Sorapot, an enchanting, modernist teapot made specifically for loose-leaf infusions. New York Times, "The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week," 21 Jan. 2021 The commitment forms part of the company's sustainability goals, which include plans to ditch fossil fuels in its laundry and cleaning brands and make all 70,000 of its products biodegradable over the next decade. Hanna Ziady, CNN, "Owner of Ben and Jerry's: We'll ensure every worker in our supply chain gets a living wage," 20 Jan. 2021 Cardboard is more biodegradable than plastic packaging, but its production is linked to deforestation and heavy chemical use by paperboard mills. Washington Post, "How Big Cardboard is handling the 2020 box boom," 30 Dec. 2020 Cardboard is more biodegradable than plastic packaging, but its production is linked to deforestation and heavy chemical use by paperboard mills. Hannah Denham, BostonGlobe.com, "How Big Cardboard is handling the 2020 box boom," 30 Dec. 2020 Light, allegedly biodegradable bags have become more common at the city’s street food stalls. Christopher Sherman, ajc, "Mexico City ban on single-use plastics takes effect," 1 Jan. 2021 Salt dough ornaments are an easy, inexpensive (and biodegradable) way to personalize decorations. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "TikTok's popular low-waste holiday decor to make at home, from plarn snowmen to citrus ornaments," 16 Dec. 2020 Polystyrene is not biodegradable and has been blamed for poisoning fish and other marine life and damaging the health of people who eat seafood. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego launching analysis that could revive controversial polystyrene foam ban," 31 Dec. 2020 Kids can visit craft and experiment stations to make nature noisemakers, safe sparklers, biodegradable confetti and more. Linda Kessler, Dallas News, "Count down to 2021 at these New Year’s Eve celebrations in and around Dallas," 28 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biodegradable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biodegradable

1959, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for biodegradable

Time Traveler

The first known use of biodegradable was in 1959

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Biodegradable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biodegradable. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for biodegradable

biodegradable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of biodegradable

: capable of being slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural processes, bacteria, etc.

biodegradable

adjective
bio·​de·​grad·​able | \ ˌbī-ō-di-ˈgrā-də-bəl How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \

Kids Definition of biodegradable

: possible to break down into very small harmless parts by the action of living things (as bacteria)

biodegradable

adjective
bio·​de·​grad·​able | \ -di-ˈgrād-ə-bəl How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \

Medical Definition of biodegradable

: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things (as microorganisms)

Other Words from biodegradable

biodegradability \ -​ˌgrād-​ə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \ noun, plural biodegradabilities
biodegradation \ -​ˌdeg-​rə-​ˈdā-​shən How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \ noun
biodegrade \ -​di-​ˈgrād How to pronounce biodegradable (audio) \ verb biodegraded; biodegrading

More from Merriam-Webster on biodegradable

Nglish: Translation of biodegradable for Spanish Speakers

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