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
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