Is Burlap Biodegradable? (Quick Answer)

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: November 19, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.

There are a handful of reasons the burlap market has been booming in recent days. 

Today, we’re seeing burlap crafts trending in the most rustic projects, from luminaries to lampshades. 

And because it’s cheap, sustainable, and permeable, most people use it in their gardening projects as well. 

Is Burlap biodegradable? Is it good or bad for the environment? Burlap is 100% biodegradable in its natural state.

Normally, it’s made from an organic fibrous jute plant

Let’s look through Burlap in a bit more detail. 

In addition to that, you’ll understand other properties and practical uses of Burlap right here. 

Is Burlap Biodegradable?

Yes, it’s 100 percent biodegradable. 

Burlap is derived from a natural plant fiber (jute) that decomposes quickly in outdoor settings yet exhibits superior strengths.

It’s purely organic unless chemicals are added to it. 

The fact that it’s free from any additives and treatments makes it entirely safe for the environment and animals.

How Long Does It Take For Burlap To Decompose?

It can degrade after 4 to 6 months of use, depending on the elements the product is exposed to. 

As we may be knowing, all products made from natural plants are biodegradable. Burlap falls in the same category.

If you throw burlap bags in a compost heap or soil, it will break down easily. 

It also absorbs water over time, which helps it to decompose quickly. 

Is Burlap Good or Bad For the Environment?

It has no negative impacts on the environment. Burlap is simply a natural fiber made from jute. Given that Burlap degrades quickly means it has less destruction.

The low burlap production is sustainable. So, there’s no significant damage to land, water, air, soil, or forests as long as chemical additives like pesticides haven’t been used. 

Be sure to choose organic Burlap since chemicals contaminate air, soil, and water. It’s environmentally friendly only when in organic form.

However, there are some instances where chemical treatment is applied with a good motive though not favorable to the environment.  

Some instances and chemicals you can find in Burlap include;

  • Copper sulfate – burlap wraps for root balls and trees used in nurseries may contain this element. Don’t reuse burlap materials you get from nurseries. 
  • Pesticides/fungicides – Some manufacturers add pesticides like Compsol to their burlap bags to impede fungi growth, hence extending the life of a product. 
  • Dye – Several inorganic dyes are added to give Burlap a unique look (color) for outdoor crafting and home decorating. This hazardous substance can harm the environment when you burn the product or throw it into landfills. You should not use dyed Burlap to hold foods.
  • Flame retardants. Because Burlap is flammable, it’s used in commercial environments as flame retardants. These have non-toxic and inhibit mildew growth.
  • Detergents. At some point, Burlap washed in detergents contains traces of oxidants, water softeners, and surfactants. If rinsed, it can cause water pollution.

Consider all-natural Burlap that hasn’t been bleached, treated, and dyed with chemical finishes. Doing so shows great care for the environment.

Why Choose Burlap Material Over Others?

Gardeners prefer Burlap to other materials because it’s sustainable for garden use. 

It can be used as weed fabric, plant baskets and containers, bags, and more. Here’s why?

  • Tough woven fabric – Burlap is durable, tough, which comprises organic jute plants. Burlap bags are characterized by natural breathability.
  • Natural and eco-friendly – Jute plant is naturally grown. Meaning all products sourced from it are biodegradable. This makes Burlap incredibly earthly friendly. Burlap is used to nurture young plants in nurseries.
  • Heavier fabric – The fabric is heavier, stronger, and durable. Some burlap bags are used as sandbags. Thanks to its superiority. 
  • Countless uses – Burlap fabric features multiple uses. It can be used as bags, flood barriers, sack race bags, and storing tools.  
  • Quality – The material is of great quality that greatly varies from broad, weave, and coarse. The finer weave is ideal for décor and sewing projects, while the coarse is used to protect plants outdoors. 

Ways to Use Burlap Sustainably

The natural texture of Burlap is amicably gorgeous. 

Burlap has a lot of practical uses, from décor and outdoor craft ideas to other uses in the garden. 

Winter plant protection

You can form burlap barriers and screens with supports to prevent harsh winds from whipping out plants like shrubs, vines, and roses. 

You can wrap Burlap around cages to block winds from damaging smaller plants. 

Temporary mulch

Sometimes we prepare a new garden bed, but as you wait to plant it later in the coming days, you can cover them with burlap clothes to prevent weed growth. 

Remember, this is only for the short term. 

Flower planters and pots

Use burlap sacks to grow flowers or herbs. 

They’re the best planters to grow roses for decoration around your house. 

You can leave them hanging in the direction where sunlight can reach.

You can also grow vegetables like spinach on your porch. 

Just fill your bags with soil and plant your seeds. This saves you some money.

Seedling protection

Burlap sheets can perfectly protect newly-sown seeds from being whipped out by strong winds. 

Just place them over nurseries and secure them with stones. 

Bear in mind that fabric is breathable, so it allows water and air in to boost germination. 

Once the seedlings are established, do away with the Burlap.

Balled and Burlapped trees

People who create nurseries often use Burlap to preserve the root ball of plants like trees and vegetables for sale. 

Since Burlap is biodegradable, gardeners leave it in place to decompose in the soil. 

But you may decide to remove it for the next use. 

Making sacks, curtains, and table cloths 

Burlap is strong, durable, and loosely constructed to make bags like sandbags. 

You can use these bags to carry anything to and from your garden – probably sand, soil, and manure.

Some use fabric to make table clothes to match your home décor. Other manufacturers sell curtains made from Burlap.

Can Burlap Be Composted?

It’s totally compostable. Burlap is made of natural fibers, which makes it decompose on your compost pile within a short time. 

This is one way of nourishing the soil in your garden while you take care of the environment. 


Burlap is cheap, biodegradable, and good for the environment. 

Gardeners can use it for gardening, outdoor crafting, and home decor

Everything comes down to how you get the best out of it. But be sure to select organic Burlap, though.

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