Our planet continues to relentlessly grow in population. A corresponding growth in waste products also occurs. Our society has an etiquette that separates waste products from our immediate living areas.
This waste creates huge environmental problems impacting the entire planet. Recycling is a method to responsibly deal with this problem. The goal of recycling is to separate waste products into two major categories, Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable.
(Definition) Biodegradable materials are composed of waste from living organisms and the actual plant, animal or other organism when its life ends.
Examples of Biodegradable materials, often referred to as “bio-waste”, include the following:
• Human and animal waste
• Plant products, wood, paper, food waste, leaves, grass clippings
• Remains from the death of living creatures
It is very important to note that biodegradable waste can serve to support the future life of other organisms. This waste can be used to provide nourishment and a healthy environment condition for living organisms, which of course includes humans.
Changing biodegradable materials into something useful and nourishing is called bio degradation or decomposition. This process includes the help of other living organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and small insects. Other natural elements such as water, oxygen, moisture and sunlight also required to enable decomposition.
(Definition) Materials having properties that do not breakdown or decay are called Non-biodegradable.
• Electronic devices
• Medical waste
Non-biodegradable materials do not breakdown naturally. But, that doesn’t mean they cannot be reused. The key difference here is that the process requires time, energy and expense. Glass and plastic can be reused to make other products, but the waste must first be separated by type of material and then processed into a usable substance.
Biodegradable materials recycle naturally to a usable substance. However, they can still be a hazard to society. The methane gas byproduct from decomposition is harmful to the environment. There are methods to capture this gas to use as a source of energy.
Non-Biodegradable material waste creates more of a problem for society. Discarded computer parts, batteries,, used motor oil and medical supplies all contain harmful chemicals. Society must devise methods to encourage separation of these materials so they can be treated for reuse or safe disposal.
Recycling is a process to protect society from hazards of our huge volume of waste problems. Knowing more about the types of waste will encourage active participation in solutions.
We often counter terms like ‘biodegradable’ and ‘non-biodegradable’ in a variety of things and products around us. From household items to the food we eat, basically, everything can be labeled in either of the two categories. So, what is this stuff all about and why is it so important to know the difference between them.
Content: Shares Vs Debentures
- Key Differences
Definition of Biodegradable Substances
The term ‘Biodegradable’ is used for those things that can be easily decomposed by natural agents like water, oxygen, ultraviolet rays of the sun, acid rains, micro-organisms, etc. One can notice that when a dead leaf or a banana peel is thrown outside, it is acted upon by several micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi or small insects in a time period. The natural elements like oxygen, water,
The natural elements like oxygen, water, moisture, and heat facilitate the decomposition thereby breaking the complex organic forms to simpler units. The decomposed matter eventually mixes or returns back to the soil and thus the soil is once again nourished with various nutrients and minerals.
Definition of Non-Biodegradable Substances
Those materials which cannot be broken down or decomposed into the soil by natural agents are labeled as non-biodegradable. These substances consist of plastic materials, metal scraps, aluminum cans and bottles, hazardous chemicals etc. These things are practically immune to the natural processes and thus cannot be fed upon or broken down even after thousands of years. Therefore, these waste rather than returning back, contribute to solid waste which is very hazardous for the environment. The ever increasing load of non-biodegradable trash is a growing concern all over the world and several countries
Therefore, these waste rather than returning back, contribute to solid waste which is very hazardous for the environment. The ever increasing load of non-biodegradable trash is a growing concern all over the world and several countries are therefore, looking for eco-friendly alternatives that can minimize the threat on several land and aquatic life forms.
Key Differences between Biodegradable and Nonbiodegradable Substances
- Biodegradable is referred to all those things that can be easily decomposed by natural agents. Natural agents include water, oxygen, ultraviolet rays of the sun, acid rains, microorganisms, etc. On the other hand non-biodegradable substances are never broken down or decomposed by environmental factors.
- Biodegradable substances include food waste like vegetable and fruit peels, dead plants and animals, chicken, egg shells, paper materials, garden waste etc. Non-biodegradable things consist of plastics, polystyrene, metals, plastic and aluminum cans, toxic chemicals, paints, tyres, etc.
- Biodegradable substances on breaking up are converted into simple organic matter and are thus assimilated in the soil and thus becomes a part of the carbon cycle of the atmosphere. On the contrary, non-biodegradable substances are resistant to the environmental factors and never decompose and instead contribute to majority of the solid waste.
- Biodegradable substances may decompose within few days or months while non-biodegradable items may take thousands of years or may never ever be broken down and remain in their original form as it is.
Identifying the commodities and separating the garbage according to the biodegradable and non-biodegradable label is very important in proper waste disposal and its management. Non-Biodegradable items for instance can be ‘Recycled’ and used again. Plastics, metals, bottles can be broken down with the help of chemicals and can once again be used to create new plastic and metal products. This can go a long way to effectively reduce the environmental hazard caused by these non-biodegradable products and creating a better and greener planet.
Filed Under: Science