Biodegradable and Non Biodegradable Waste


The biodegradable, name itself is a combination of two words that are bio and degradable which means any substance or object is capable of being degraded or decomposed through bacterial action or by any other living organisms without producing any kind of pollution. And, this biodegradation process is assumed to occur naturally. Some examples of biodegradables are organic wastes, paper, woods, etc. While Non-biodegradable or not-biodegradable means any substance or object that is not capable or incapable of being decomposed or broken down by the action of bacteria, fungi, or any other form of life. Some examples of non-biodegradable are plastic, glass, metals, etc.

What does Biodegradable mean?

Biodegradable means the substances that are capable of being broken into smaller decomposable pieces by the action of bacteria, fungi, or any other form of life. Generally, all the plant and animal products are biodegradable but the mineral products such as glass, plastics, and metals are not. Generally, biodegradation (biodegradable process) occurs naturally which makes it different from composting. And most biodegradable decompositions are eco-friendly. Although few biodegradable substances break down in some harmful manner, leaving chemicals or some other damaging substances in the soil.

Images Coming soon


Below mentioned are some examples of Biodegradables-

  • Plant wastes or plant products(wood, leaves, papers,etc).

  • Animal wastes(faecal matter, dead bodies of the animals)

  • Human wastes(faecal matters)

  • Eggshells, and food materials.

What is Biodegradable Waste?

Biodegradable waste means any organic matter in the form of waste that is capable of being broken down into carbon dioxide gas, water, methane gas, and other simpler organic molecules by the action of micro-organisms or other living things by various processes such as aerobic digestion (in the presence of oxygen), anaerobic digestion(in the absence of oxygen), compositing and other similar processes. It mainly or generally includes kitchen wastes, soil, ash, faecal matter, and other plant matters. Biodegradable wastes are used for composting or for other varieties of things such as for the production of heat, electricity, and organic fuels by various means.

Images Coming soon

What does Non-Biodegradable mean?

Non-biodegradable means the substances that are not capable or incapable of being broken into smaller decomposable pieces by the action of bacteria, fungi, or any other form of life. Generally, all the minerals or mineral products are non-biodegradable such as glass, plastics, and metals. They remain on the surface of the earth for thousands of years without any decomposition or degradation. And most of the non-biodegradable decompositions are hazards for our environment or produce pollution in many forms. One of the most common examples of non-biodegradable waste is plastic. So, these harmful things must be replaced with eco-friendly substances.

Images Coming soon


Below mentioned are some of the examples of Non-biodegradables-

  • Plastic polythenes, plastic bottles, and other plastic-related products.

  • Glass materials

  • Metals, batteries

  • A large number of medical wastes

What is Non-Biodegradable Waste?

Non-biodegradable waste means the substances or the objects that cannot be or incapable of getting decomposed by any natural means or agents. They remain present on the earth's surface for thousands of years and these wastes cause a lot of damage to our environment. One of the well-known and most used non-biodegradable waste is plastic. As it is an inorganic substance, so it does not get decomposed or degraded in the environment resulting in the pollution of land and water ecosystem. It also creates a very severe effect on aquatic life. Therefore, all kinds of inorganic wastes come under non-biodegradable waste.

Images Coming soon

Difference between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable

Biodegradable Non-biodegradable
These can be decomposed in nature by any natural means. These cannot be decomposed in nature by any natural means.
Here the speed of decaying is very fast. Here, the decaying rate is very slow it can take thousands of years to decay.
The cost of disposal of these wastes is quite low. The cost of disposal of these wastes is very high.
Examples are- food materials, woods, leaves, paper,e.t.c. Examples are- plastics, glass, metals, e.t.c.

Effects of Waste Material on the Environment

Waste materials cause serious dangers to our environment for both flora and fauna. Wastes are the result of activities in our homes, industries, agriculture fields, etc. Plastic is one of the wastes which causes severe environmental issues. For example- burning plastics produces varieties of harmful gases including dioxins, furans, etc. Then, a heap of plastics blocks the drainage and this blocks the water flow which provides suitable breeding space for the dengue-producing mosquitoes. Further medical wastes are also very dangerous. Animals like cows eat up these wastes which block their digestive system and lead to their death. Wastes are the major source of diseases and infections. So, the waste management system is very important for the smooth running of any society.


Both biodegradable and Non-biodegradable wastes are harmful to the environment and may be in one form or other. Therefore, proper waste treatment or waste management systems must be present in our locality or our society. The treatment involves three R’s that are Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce. These are the simplest steps that anyone can easily follow to make their society waste-free or pollution-free. One more important thing that each person can do is to separate the biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes at home and then dispose of them.

Images Coming soon


Biodegradable means the substances that are capable of being broken down or decompose by the action of microorganisms or any form of life whereas nonbiodegradable means the substances that are incapable of being broken down into small pieces by the action of any form of life. Biodegradable wastes include organic wastes which can decompose easily at a faster rate. Non-biodegradable wastes include plastics and glasses which cannot decompose easily and take thousands of years to decompose. All kind of waste harms our environment for all types of life-sustaining on the earth. So, waste treatment is very important which includes recycling, reusing, and reducing.


Q1. What is the meaning of Biodegradable Waste?

Ans. Biodegradable waste means organic wastes which can easily be decomposed in the environment by the action of microorganisms or any other form of life.

Q2. Examples of Non-Biodegradable Wastes.

Ans. Some examples of Non-biodegradable wastes are-

  • Plastic products

  • Glass

  • Artificial rubber, batteries

  • Metals

Q3. Why do  Non-Biodegradable Wastes remain present in nature for a longer period?

Ans. As non-biodegradable wastes cannot be broken down or decomposed by any bacterial actions or by any other natural form that’s why their decomposition takes a longer time.

Q4. What are some of the harmful effects of Waste Materials?

Ans. Some harmful effects of waste material include sewage problems, increasing infections, and diseases, and the death of wildlife and fisheries.

Q5. What are three R’s stand for?

Ans. Three R’s stand for Recycle, Reuse, and reduce. This means do not waste materials all the time, if possible recycle the things and reuse them. Among these three R’s Reduce is at the top priority which means reducing waste generation as much as possible, then comes reuse, and finally recycle.

Updated on: 15-Dec-2022

3K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started