MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology

Re: Do phosphates make liquid detergent non-biodegradable? If so, how?

Date: Thu Oct 19 04:46:16 2000
Posted By: Sean Blasdall, Staff, Civil & Environmental Eng, University of NSW
Area of science: Environment & Ecology
ID: 968545833.En

Phosphates can be either biological and hence degradiable or non-
biological. There are biological phosphates which can be found in the 
human body for example. The non-biological phosphates are very resistance 
substances and take a very long time to degrade.
Phosposphates used in detergents are chemically made in a lab and are 
inorganic (non-biological)they are designed to be strong so that they can 
remove dirt etc.  because they are desgned to be hardy the result is that 
they are not able to be broken down easily like plant material in a 
compost pile etc

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