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.

Aluminum Recycling Facts

Currently Americans are recycling 2 of every 3 aluminum cans that are being used. That’s a good start, but we can do better.

recycle aluminum cansAluminum Old Recycling Facts:

  • During the last 20 years we have wasted over 11 million tons of aluminum cans. That is about $12 billion today.
  • It took 19 aluminum cans to make one pound 20 years ago. Now, there are lighter cans, it takes 29 cans to make a pound.
  • The aluminum industry paid over 1 billion in 1997 for all the recycled items.

Facts About the Current State of Aluminum Recycling

  • Recycling one aluminum can, can save the same amount of energy that is necessary to keep a 100 watt light bulb burning for about 4 hours.
  • Using recycled aluminum to make beverage cans can cut air pollution by almost 95 percent.
  • It’s possible for a recycled aluminum can to be back on a store shelf in about 90 days.

FoilDifferent Types of Aluminum That Can Be Recycled
Most people think of aluminum cans when considering aluminum items that can be recycled. There are, however, several things made of aluminum that can be recycled. Just look around your house, most windows have an aluminum border on the screens.

In spite of the progress we’re making we still waste an incredible amount of aluminum. It’s important to remember that there is no limit to how many times aluminum can be recycled.

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.