You care about the planet, and would like to avoid bottles and other goods made of single-use plastic. But it’s complicated.

Choosing products with packaging that claims to be “biodegradable” or “compostable” might mean that they degrade only under special conditions, and could complicate recycling efforts, said Jason Locklin, the director of the New Materials Institute at the University of Georgia. “It’s tremendously confusing, not just to the consumer, but even to many scientists,” he said.

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Photo credit: Big Green Smile