The word ‘biodegradable’ is definitely pitched as a benefit which is just a little bit odd when you think about it since ‘to degrade’ means to impair, or weaken or diminish. When products are described as ‘biodegradable’ it generally means that they will break down in an environmentally harmless manner in the right environment. Compared to the overwhelming number of products that are non-biodegradable or even worse, toxic, this definitely seems like a step up. The reality though, is that most of these products end up in a landfill where they will not be able to biodegrade due to the lack of oxygen. Sigh…
In light of this rather dubious descriptor, I’ve been pondering how best to describe the end-of-life benefits of biochar products in a way that differentiates them from products labeled as ‘merely’ biodegradable. Perhaps it’s time to coin a new term to describe products that don’t just harmlessly decouple, but rather are beneficial no matter what environment they end up in. I think biochar products should be described as ‘BioUPgradable’!
Imagine the day when cups are made from a biochar polymer. You are picnicking near a lake and your biochar polymer cup goes flying into the lake. No worries. The fish will gobble it up and the biochar will help detox the mercury that the fish has ingested. Or imagine the day that you are tired of your biochar brick patio. Bring out a hammer, vent and till the remains of the bricks into the soil. Or imagine the day when supplies for your classroom that were 3D printed using biochar are no longer needed. No need to feel bad about tossing them in the garbage since they will help reduce toxic leaching and sequester carbon at the landfill.
When it comes to product design while benign may be better, beneficial is definitely best. BioUPgradable products are the wave of the future and biochar products will lead the pack!