Is Earthern Pots Biodegradable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Earthen pots are great for storing and even cooking food but how good are they for the environment? Are earthen pots biodegradable?

Earthen pots are biodegradable because they are made out of naturally occurring materials. 

Some are made from clay and other forms of soil and they biodegrade back into these after a few months.

As you can see, earthen pots aren’t just great for cooking but they are also awesome for the planet. 

Are you ready to learn more about the wonders these pots do for the environment? Then take a look at the next section.

Is Clay Pottery Biodegradable?

Some scientists estimate that humans have been using clay pottery for 10,000 years. 

But although we have been using it for a long time, it doesn’t mean that it lasts forever. So, when clay pottery breaks or you have no use for it what should you do with it? Is clay pottery biodegradable?

Clay pottery is biodegradable. This is because it is made from natural materials that decompose. 

Here is a list of just some of the materials that make up clay pottery:

  • Clay. This is one of the main materials in clay pottery. It is a natural material that comes from the ground. It is extracted from places where there are rocks, rivers, and streams.
  • Water. The water in clay pottery is like the glue that sticks everything together. This is also a natural ingredient.
  • Metal oxides
  • Organic material. Since clay is a natural ingredient, it contains organic material.

Although clay pottery is made from natural materials, it is not an easy material to decompose. 

In fact, estimates say that some clay pottery can last up to 1 million years without breaking down. 

The way that clay pottery is made makes it so long-lasting. This is advantageous for archeological finds and historical research as clay pottery takes so long to decompose.

Are Matkas Biodegradable?

Matka or Matki are eco-friendly pots that are made by combining two types of mud clay. Traditionally the pots are made by combining mud from on top of the ground with mud from underneath the ground. 

(Typically, the potter will dig 10 feet underground for this.) Do you have some Matka or Matki pots in your home? Then you’ll be fascinated by how great these pots are for our planet. 

Matkas and Matki pots are biodegradable. This is because they are made from mud clay and water. 

When these pots biodegrade, they decompose back into their original materials. Making these earth pots is simple. 

Here is the basic process for making the pots. It can take a potter as long as 8 days to get a finished product.

  1. Mud clay is taken from the earth’s surface and under the surface
  2. The two types of mud clay are mixed together
  3. The two types of clay are mixed with water
  4. The clay is shaped into a pot
  5. The clay pot is polished
  6. The clay pot is transferred to a kiln where it is dried

Because of the cooling properties in the mud, Matkas and Matki pots are often used to help refrigeration in India. 

Water is also kept inside the earthen pots in order to keep it cool for several hours. These earthen pots can also be used for cooking. 

They retain oil and keep food moist. The properties of these pots help those who cook with them cut down on added oil. 

Is Clay Pottery Biodegradable?

Is Terracotta Biodegradable?

Now here is an interesting one. Terracotta. Although it is made out of mud, terracotta is not biodegradable. 

This is because terracotta will not decompose in soil even if you were to leave it there for hundreds or even thousands of years. 

Crushed terracotta will not decompose in soil either. It disrupts the natural habitat of the microbes in the soil. 

Now, we know what you’re thinking. What makes terracotta like this? If terracotta is made from mud, why won’t it biodegrade? When terracotta is fired, the clay undergoes a rearrangement of its crystal structure making the clay extremely hard. 

This change makes it immune to degradation. Here are some of the benefits of the durability of terracotta:

  • Archaeological findings. We have been able to find out more about history thanks to excavations that have uncovered terracotta pieces. These do not decompose and bring us face to face with history.
  • Durable pots. Terracotta pots are tough and long-lasting. If you invest in a terracotta set it will be with you for life.
  • Gardening. If your terracotta pots chip or break, you can easily *transform them into plant pots for the garden. Simply shove the chipped end of the pot into the ground and sit your plants inside them. Since terracotta does not absorb water or humidity, these pots make the perfect home for plants that like drier soil. This includes cacti and succulents.
  • Terracotta is inexpensive. You will not have to break the bank to get hold of a beautiful set of pots. You can use these pots for cooking or for gardening.

*TIP: Are you looking for more creative ways that you can use terracotta pots? Then check out these terracotta painting ideas. If painting isn’t your thing, you can also take a look at these quirky terracotta upcycling ideas that will help you transform even broken pots. 

Final Thoughts

Earthen pots are awesome for storing and even cooking food. Earthen pots like Matka and Matki are also very popular and are ideal for keeping food refrigerated. 

They are also effective at keeping water cool. But how good are these for the environment? Is earthen pots biodegradable?

Throughout this article, we have seen that earthen pots are biodegradable. They are made from natural materials such as clay and other forms of soil. 

They are molded together with water and then dried. 

If you have an earthen pot that you do not want anymore, you can decompose it on your compost heap. Then the pot will go back into the soil ready to become another one in the future.

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