7 Basic Difference between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

What is the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable Substances?

Technology has brought more good than harm. The invention of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials has helped to improve the quality of life.

Knowing the core difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances can help an individual learn how to dispose of them.

The lesson provides information about the definition, examples, and risk associated with both biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances.

Difference between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

What Are Biodegradable Substances?

Biodegradable materials are substances that can be decomposed with the help of microorganisms, moisture, air, and sunlight among many other factors.

The decomposition of these materials results in organic manure. The good news is that these substances do not cause pollution in the environment.

Examples of biodegradable materials are fruits, vegetables, paper, plant, and animal waste. Generally, they are eco-friendly, profitable, non-toxic, and non-pollutant.

A lot of organizations are coming up with ways on how to foster biodegradable substances due to their positive impact on society.

What Are Non-Biodegradable Substances?

Non-biodegradable materials are substances which cannot be decomposed by natural agents like microorganism, moisture, and sunlight. They are popularly known for causing pollution.

Examples of these materials are metals, plastics, chemicals, batteries, polythene bags, glass, and bottles. These substances are readily available and they tend to be quite affordable.

These solid wastes tend to have a health and environmental negative impact. It is the reason why they are widely opposed in many countries across the world.

According to research, they are toxic and cause pollution. A lot of measurements have been adopted to curb the widespread of non-biodegradable materials.

Comparison Chart: Biodegradable vs Non-Biodegradable 

Basic Terms Biodegradable Substances Non-Biodegradable Substances
Definition Are materials that decompose naturally with the help of microorganisms Are materials which do not decompose naturally and they cause pollution
Rate of Decomposition Slow Do not decompose
Examples Plants and animal waste, vegetables, paper, fruits, and flowers Metals, plastic, polythene bags, chemicals, batteries and bottles
Agent of Decomposition Fungi, bacteria, and other microbes. The materials are not decomposed by any agents of decay.
Life Span Waste is accumulated and used within a short lifespan Waste is accumulated and often stay for a long period
Uses Used for biogeochemical cycles and have a great turnover Do not enter biogeochemical cycles but tend to be toxic
Role Typically used for energy, manure, compost and biogas They can be separated and recycled for further usage.

Differences between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

  1. Biodegradable materials are those things that can be decomposed naturally while non-biodegradable materials cannot be decomposed naturally.
  2. Examples of biodegradable materials are food wastes, dead plants, and animals while non-biodegradable materials are plastic bags, chemicals, and batteries.
  3. The rate of decomposition of biodegradable materials is quite slow but does not cause pollution while non-biodegradable materials do not decay but cause pollution.
  4. Biodegradable materials are known for producing energy, manure, biogas, and compost while non-biodegradable materials can be recycled and used again.

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Comparison Video


The effects of non-biodegradable waste are extremely harmful both to the environment and health of human beings. Biodegradable wastes are quite profitable and safe for humans.

Understanding at least 20 examples of biodegradable and no biodegradable waste is quite important as far as living in a healthy environment.

I hope the information on the types of biodegradable materials and non-biodegradable materials will help to foster the adoption of eco-friendly materials.

More Sources and References

Biodegradation. Wikipedia

Non–biodegradable. Bioplastic 

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