12 Difference Between Biodegradable And Non-Biodegradable Substances (With Examples)

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What Are Biodegradable Substances/Waste?

Biodegradable substance is a form of substance originating naturally from plant or animal sources, which may be broken down into carbon dioxide, water, methane or simple organic molecules by action of bacteria, fungi and other living organisms by composting, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion or similar processes.

Biodegradable substances upon braking up are converted into simple organic matter and are thus assimilated in the soil and thus become a part of the carbon cycle of the atmosphere.

Common biodegradable substances include food waste like vegetable and fruit peels, dead plants and animals, chicken, egg shells, paper materials, leather, cotton, cattle dung, garden waste like grass, leaves etc.

What You Need To Know About Biodegradable Substances

  1. Biodegradable substance is a form of substance originating naturally from plant or animal sources, which may be degraded by other living organisms.
  2. Biodegradable substances are categorized as organic substances.
  3. Biodegradable substances change their form and structure over time and become harmless.
  4. Microorganisms or microbes such as fungi, bacteria and other living organisms have the ability to decompose the biodegradable substance into the soil.
  5. Biodegradable substances include food waste like vegetable and fruit peels, dead plants and animals, chicken, egg shells, paper materials, leather, cotton, cattle dung, garden waste like grass, leaves etc.
  6. Biodegradable substances upon breaking up are converted into simple organic matter and are thus assimilated in the soil and thus become a part of the carbon cycle of the atmosphere.
  7. Biodegradable substances may decompose within few days or months.
  8. Biodegradable substances can be used to generate energy as compost and biogas.
  9. Biodegradable wastes are often not collected from farms but they get used up and converted into soil in a short period of time.
  10. Biodegradable substances produce a large amount of microbial flora around the wastes.
  11. Most biodegradable substances do not disturb the ecological balance in nature.
  12. They emit foul odor when they are being decomposed.

What Are Non-Biodegradable Substances/Waste?

A non-biodegradable substance is a type of substance which cannot be broken down by natural organisms. These substances remain in the environment for a long time and if these same substances are toxic, they may pollute the soil and water. Some non-biodegradable pollutants have ability of causing harm to organisms in the environment.

Non-biodegradable substances include plastics, polystyrene, metals, plastics, aluminum cans, toxic chemicals, paints, rubber, tyres, radioactive waste, Glass bottles, synthetic fibres, some pesticides like DDT etc.

What You Need To Know About Non-Biodegradable Substances/Waste

  1. A non-biodegradable substance is a type of substance which cannot be broken down by natural organisms and serve as a source of pollution.
  2. Non-biodegradable substances are categorized as inorganic substances.
  3. Non-biodegradable substances remain unchanged over a long period of time.
  4. Microorganism or microbes such as fungi, bacteria and other living organisms do not degrade a non-biodegradable substance easily.
  5. Non-biodegradable substances include plastics, polystyrene, metals, plastics, aluminum cans, toxic chemicals, paints, rubber, tyres, radioactive waste, Glass bottles, synthetic fibres, some pesticides like DDT etc.
  6. Non-biodegradable substances are resistant to environmental factors and never decompose and instead contribute to a large percentage of the solid waste.
  7. Non-biodegradable substances take thousands of years or may never ever be broken down and remain in their original form.
  8. Non-biodegradable waste can be separated and recycled but the process is very intensive and expensive.
  9. Non-biodegradable waste is often collected out of farms.
  10. Non-biodegradable substances do not produce a huge amount of microbial flora around the wastes.
  11. Most non-biodegradable substances disturb the ecological balance in nature.
  12. They do not emit foul odor as they are being decomposed.

Also Read: Difference Between Photosynthesis And Respiration

Difference Between Biodegradable And Non-Biodegradable Substances In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON BIODEGRADABLE NON-BIODEGRADABLE
Description Biodegradable substance is a form of substance originating naturally from plant or animal sources, which may be degraded by other living organisms.   A non-biodegradable substance is a type of substance which cannot be broken down by natural organisms and serve as a source of pollution.  
Categorization They are categorized as organic substances.   They are categorized as inorganic substances.  
Change of Form They change their form and structure over time and become harmless.   They remain unchanged over a long period of time.  
Microbes Ability To Decompose Microorganisms or microbes such as fungi, bacteria and other living organisms have the ability to decompose the biodegradable substance into the soil.   Microorganism or microbes such as fungi, bacteria and other living organisms do not degrade a non-biodegradable substance easily.  
Examples Fruit peels, dead plants and animals, chicken, egg shells, paper materials, leather, cotton Plastics, polystyrene, metals, plastics, aluminum cans, toxic chemicals, paints, rubber, tyres, radioactive waste.
Nature Upon breaking up are converted into simple organic matter and are thus assimilated in the soil and thus become a part of the carbon cycle of the atmosphere.   Non-biodegradable substances are resistant to environmental factors and never decompose and instead contribute to a large percentage of the solid waste.  
Decomposition Time They may decompose within few days or months.   They take thousands of years or may never ever be broken down and remain in their original form.  
Re-Use They can be used to generate energy as compost and biogas.   They can be separated and recycled but the process is very intensive and expensive.  
Collection They are often not collected from farms but they get used up and converted into soil in a short period of time.   They are often collected out of farms.  
Production Of Microbial Flora They produce a large amount of microbial flora around the wastes.   They do not produce a huge amount of microbial flora around the wastes.  
Effect On Ecological Balance They do not disturb the ecological balance in nature.   Most of them disturb the ecological balance in nature.  
Emission Of Foul Odor  They emit foul odor when they are being decomposed.   They do not emit foul odor as they are being decomposed.  

Also Read: Difference Between Biotic And Abiotic Factors

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