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Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable Waste

As the human population continues to grow, a corresponding growth in rubbish also occurs. With the number of human beings only projected to dramatically increase, the above correlation implies that the amount of waste will only increase with time. Therefore, we must employ the best strategies when it comes to proper waste management. Generally, we have the capacity to separate waste products from our immediate living areas.

However, the problem is where to deposit or dump this waste. In the underdeveloped world, they are usually dumped into landfills, which is a huge concern. Of course, even some of the highly developed countries are finding it very hard to deal with their waste appropriately.

Rubbish can potentially result in adverse environmental impacts on the entire planet. Thankfully, through recycling, we can responsibly and sustainably deal with this waste menace. Typically, the objective of recycling is to classify waste products into two primary classes; biodegradable and non-biodegradable rubbish. Today in this particular post, we want to discuss in excruciating details, all you need to know regarding biodegradable rubbish.

Related: Household Waste That Are Adding to Environmental Problems

What is biodegradable waste?

Waste is often a general term we normally use to describe all the products of human life which are either disposed of or thrown away altogether. It may include anything that ranges from urine, plastic, broken or damaged household equipment to plastic and food remains. Biodegradable rubbish refers to that type of waste that can biodegrade. To be more precise, it is a form of waste which can naturally break down, and be returned to the soil as harmless chemical elements after a reasonable time frame. It refers to all kinds of waste which can be degraded by other living organisms.

This type of waste is often present in municipal solid rubbish, or as food waste, paper waste, green waste as well as biodegradable plastics. Other typical examples of biodegradable waste may include, sewage deposits, manure, and perhaps slaughterhouse waste. In the absence of oxygen gas, a significant amount of this type of waste usually decays to form methane gas through the process of anaerobic digestion.

Unlike their non-degradable counterparts, biodegradable rubbish can be separated from other types of rubbish and then composed for further uses. On the other hand, non-biodegradable ones can take centuries to break down. This only means that by having biodegradable rubbish instead of non-biodegradable waste, we can significantly reduce the amount of rubbish that will find their way to the landfills. If you didn’t know, biodegradable rubbish can potentially be turned into useful resources, such as fertiliser, through the process of decomposition.

Bowl of household vegetable and fruits refuse collected for compost

What is the environmental threat of biodegradable waste?

The major environmental threat of biodegradable products is the generation of methane gas. If you didn’t know, methane gas is nearly twenty times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 gas and accounts for almost three per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

What is a biodegradable plastic?

As we previously mentioned, biodegradable implies that a product can potentially be broken down by the actions of microorganism, especially microbes. Regarding biodegradable plastic, this process is aided by special enzymes which are produced by certain microorganisms which use the plastic as a viable source of energy. Simply put, the microbes essentially consume the plastic for food.

Ultimately, biodegradable plastics usually break down into relatively smaller molecules such as water, methane, carbon dioxide as well as the waste from microbial activity. On most occasions, plastics, including biodegradable types, come filled with other elements known as additives. These additives are usually released into the environments when the plastic materials degrade. Typical examples of biodegradable plastics may include:

  • Polylactic acid
  • Thermoplastic starch
  • Hydroxyalkanoates
  • Polybutylene adipate terephthalate
  • Polycaprolactone

What are some of the uses of biodegradable waste?

The most obvious answer is that they can be used for composting. What’s more, they can be used as resources for electricity, heat and fuel. This can be achieved through either anaerobic digestion or incineration. While the latter can potentially yield the most energy, anaerobic digestion plants often retain vital nutrients which can be used to make compost.

What is a non-biodegradable waste?

Any material which cannot be decomposed into organic and eco-friendly waste is described as non-biodegradable. As compared to their biodegradable counterparts, non-biodegradable rubbish cannot either be dissolved by natural agents or decomposed. As a result, they can be difficult to handle. They can potentially remain on the planet for many years without any undergoing any form of degradation. A typical example is a non-biodegradable plastic, whose immediate and long-term threat to the environment can be critical. Most inorganic wastes are non-biodegradable.

Typical examples of non-biodegradable rubbish include:

  • Metals
  • Electronic components
  • Medical waste
  • Glass
  • Most Plastics

Non-biodegradable materials are best dealt with through the process of recycling and thanks to the advent of technology, nearly all types of waste can be recycled. Recycling not only ensures that the available resources are used sparingly but equally limits the effects of waste on the environment.

Paul’s Rubbish Removal in Sydney places emphasis on proper rubbish removal. By understanding the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, we are able to better dispose of our garbage. Simply call us on 0407 125 125, we’ll take care of both your biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste and any other type of rubbish for quick removal.

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

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