Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Materials

Our planet continues to relentlessly grow in population. A corresponding growth in waste products also occurs. Our society has an etiquette that separates waste products from our immediate living areas.

This waste creates huge environmental problems impacting the entire planet. Recycling is a method to responsibly deal with this problem. The goal of recycling is to separate waste products into two major categories, Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable.
biodegradable material info(Definition) Biodegradable materials are composed of waste from living organisms and the actual plant, animal or other organism when its life ends.

Examples of Biodegradable materials, often referred to as “bio-waste”, include the following:

• Human and animal waste
• Plant products, wood, paper, food waste, leaves, grass clippings
• Remains from the death of living creatures

It is very important to note that biodegradable waste can serve to support the future life of other organisms. This waste can be used to provide nourishment and a healthy environment condition for living organisms, which of course includes humans.

Changing biodegradable materials into something useful and nourishing is called bio degradation or decomposition. This process includes the help of other living organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and small insects. Other natural elements such as water, oxygen, moisture and sunlight also required to enable decomposition.

non-biodegradable waste
(Definition) Materials having properties that do not breakdown or decay are called Non-biodegradable.

Examples include:
• Glass
• Metals
• Plastics
• Electronic devices
• Medical waste

Non-biodegradable materials do not breakdown naturally. But, that doesn’t mean they cannot be reused. The key difference here is that the process requires time, energy and expense. Glass and plastic can be reused to make other products, but the waste must first be separated by type of material and then processed into a usable substance.

bio vs non-bioBiodegradable materials recycle naturally to a usable substance. However, they can still be a hazard to society. The methane gas byproduct from decomposition is harmful to the environment. There are methods to capture this gas to use as a source of energy.

Non-Biodegradable material waste creates more of a problem for society. Discarded computer parts, batteries,, used motor oil and medical supplies all contain harmful chemicals. Society must devise methods to encourage separation of these materials so they can be treated for reuse or safe disposal.

Recycling is a process to protect society from hazards of our huge volume of waste problems. Knowing more about the types of waste will encourage active participation in solutions.

Paper and Cardboard Recycling Facts

Recycling 1 ton of NEWSPRINT can save:
  • 601 kWh of energy
  • 1.7 barrels of oil
  • 10.2 million Btu’s of energy
  • 4.6 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 7000 gallons of water
  • 15 trees

Did You Know?

– 10 million tons of newsprint is thrown away each year in the USA

– Approximately 65,000 – 75,000 trees are needed to produce the Sunday New York Times paper edition.

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Recycling 1 ton of CARDBOARD saves:
  • 390 kWh of energy
  • 1.1 barrels of oil
  • 6.6 million Btu’s of energy

Tips!

– Remove all other materials in the cardboard box, such as plastic bubble wrap and other packaging materials.

– Break apart the cardboard boxes to save storage space.

– Keep cardboard dry so it is easier to carry.

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Recycling 1 ton of PAPER saves:
  • 4,100 kWh of energy
  • 9 barrels of oil
  • 54 million of Btu’s of energy
  • 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 60 pounds of air pollutants being released
  • 7000 gallons of water
  • 17 trees

Did You Know?

– 4.5 million tons of paper is disposed each year in the USA

– The average American uses about 650 pounds of paper each year.

– Recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution, and 75% less processed energy than producing from virgin fibers.

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The information was gathered from the Water Management website. For more informative statistics, please visit here.

Household Recyclables

Garbage is a serious issue in not only our country but the entire world. The average American creates 4.5 pounds of waste daily, however, there are plenty of ways to reduce that amount. By recycling plastics, paper, and other items, the amount of garbage that takes up space in landfills will shrink. Recycling also helps lessen greenhouse gas emissions, saves water, and minimize energy usage.

Living Areas

Items found in bedrooms and living room can be easily recycled. For example: If you have a desk in your bedroom that acts as a loose paper magnet, those piles of paper can be put to good use. Your junk mail and old paperwork can take a trip to the shredder and be on its way to the recycling bin. Old books, magazines, and catalogs can be recycled as well. Recycling all these items also gives you the perfect chance to de-clutter.

Bathroom

Often times the bathroom is the most overlooked source of recyclables, but it’s actually where you’ll find them the most. You can recycle plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, toothpaste tubes, tissue boxes, plastic razors, and even old toothbrushes. There are many products like skin cosmetics and hair gel that people use so regularly that they forget that their containers can be recycled. Next time you are about to throw out an empty bottle of lotion, think twice.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a major source of traffic in any home. It’s where you keep your food, beverages, and cleaning products. All of those items have one thing in common; packaging! Plastic spray bottles, canned vegetables, glass pickle jars, and cardboard cereal boxes are just a few of many examples of what can be recycled. Sadly, most people throw these items into the trash bin without giving it a second thought.

As an inhabitant of planet earth, you should care about its well-being. By gathering the recyclables in your home, you can help minimize the carbon footprint left behind by numerous generations. For more information, call or visit your local waste management office.