Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable materials

Plastics in an abandoned strawberry field, Spain. rel=
Plastics in an abandoned strawberry field, Spain.
© WWF-Canon / Michel Gunther
As we become more technologically advanced, we produce materials that can withstand extreme temperatures, are durable and easy to use. Plastic bags, synthetics, plastic bottles, tin cans, and computer hardware- these are some of the things that make life easy for us.

But what we forget is that these advanced products do not break down naturally. When we dispose them in a garbage pile, the air, moisture, climate, or soil cannot break them down naturally to be dissolved with the surrounding land. They are not biodegradable. However natural waste and products made from nature break down easily when they are disposed as waste.

But as more and more biodegradable materials pile up, there is increased threat to the environment. Visit the sites mentioned below to know about what is biodegradable and what is not and to understand how non-biodegradable materials affect the environment.

This site is one of the best introductions to what is biodegradable and non-biodegradable material and recycling. Especially the three Rs: reuse, reduce and recycle. Study this decomposition chart and you will may be surprised at how long and if common things like glass bottles take to decompose!

For some good definitions of the related terms used in this field, visit this site.

To understand the seriousness of the problem caused by non-biodegradable waste, you can read about what's happening to particular places where plastic and other materials are used for almost everything.

One of the most common household waste is polythene- mostly used as polythese bags for shopping and carrying light things. Since they are cheap, they are used by almost everyone- from the local vegetable seller to the supermarket bread shelf.

The hazard that polythene causes to the environment is very serious. This site is a research study undertaken by students about waste management in Uganda. But it has some interest information on what polythene waste does to the environment and what measures we can take to help stop this kind of pollution.

On the other hand, biodegradable waste also has some effect on the environment. To understand how biodegradable waste is a factor in greenhouse effect visit the site. The problems it describes are common to all regions where there is the greenhouse effect.

Keeping in mind the potential hazard of biodegradable waste, it is important for you to know in what way you can help to make sure that less non-biodegradable material is left on the planet. Become an environment friendly consumer by following the everyday tips at on how we can contribute to less non-biodegradable materials.

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