Difference Between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

Technology has improved our life very much. In our everyday life, we use lots of things on a daily basis. After using those products we produce things which are not more useful to us that called as waste or trash. There are many things like vegetables and fruits, used tea leaves, plastic bottles, polythene bags, empty cartons, papers and many more are trash.

Biodegradable vs Non-Biodegradable Substances

The main difference between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances is that a substance that can be easily degraded naturally with the help of fungus and bacteria is a Biodegradable substance. A substance that cannot be easily degraded by naturally and pollute the environment is called non-Biodegradable.

Biodegradable vs Non Biodegradable Substances

Comparison Table Between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

Parameter of ComparisonBiodegradable SubstanceNon-Biodegradable Substance
Degradation processThe degradation process is slow in this type of substance.The degradation process is very slow in this type of substance.
UsagesThis can be used for produce the biogas or make fertilizers.This cannot be used for anything. It always toxic for environment.
Decompose ByThis can be decompose by the bacteria, fungus and other living organisms.This cannot be compose by the living organisms.
Cost for decompositionIt does not require any kind of artificial things so it is not costly for decompositionIt require some costly chemical to decompose that material.
ExamplesFruits, papers, vegetablesCarbon paper, glass, polythene

What are Biodegradable Substances?

Definition:- A substance that can be easily decomposed by bacteria or fungus and other natural organisms without polluting the environment is a Biodegradable substance.

Some examples of biodegradable substances are vegetables, fruits, food, flowers, dead plants, animal wastes, papers, and many more. A Biodegradable substance can be degraded by any aspects of the environment like Oxygen, UV-Rays, Bacteria, fungus, temperature. A biodegradable substance is made naturally. These products are always non-toxic for the environment.

These materials can be used for fertilizers, biogas, compost and many more. The biodegradable substance is mainly produced by animals or plants.

The decomposing process is very slow compared to non-Biodegradable because this process is done by natural instance and it takes time to decompose it.

With the decomposing process some times it emits some gases which can be used for cooking and some other works, although it’s not harmful too. Nowadays more people are attracting this type of product which is Biodegradable because now they got that it is not polluting our environment and it’s also good for health.

More and more people should use Biodegradable products so we can save our environment and live a happy life.

Biodegradable Substances

What are Non-Biodegradable Substances?

Definition: – A substance that cannot be decomposed by the bacteria or fungus and it decomposes process pollute the environment is called Non-Biodegradable substance.

Some examples of Non-Biodegradable substances are polythene, plastic bottles, tetra packs, carbon paper, glass, e-waste, manmade polymers and many more. A Non-Biodegradable substance cannot be degraded by the natural organisms, to degrade this type of product we need to use some chemical to do the reaction with them and it can be degraded.

The non-biodegradable substance is mainly produced by humans with some chemical reaction in the lab and after that into big factories for a big amount of it. This type of product cannot degrade itself for many years so that it pollutes the environment.

For this type of Non-Biodegradable products, we should use the 3 R concept called Reduce-Recycle-Reuse.

We should reduce the usage of Non-Biodegradable material and instead of degrading it we should recycle it and make other things which we can use. We should make Reusable products to reduce the manufacturing of this kind of Non-Biodegradable products.

Plastic is the most dangerous Non-biodegradable substance because there is no way to do decomposition of that so it will remain the same quantity from they produce and it will be so harmful to living animals on the earth.

Non-Biodegradable Substances

Main Differences Between Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

  1. Biodegradable substances are that kind of substance that decomposes naturally and good for the environment and A Non-Biodegradable substance are not decompose naturally and toxic for the environment.
  2. The speed of decomposition of the Biodegradable substance is slow. It takes a few weeks to a few months to decompose while a Non-Biodegradable substance either not decompose or takes hundreds of years to decompose.
  3. Biodegradable substances do not pollute the environment also some of them are very useful for the environment at another side Non-Biodegradable substance is always harmful and toxic for the environment.
  4. A Biodegradable substance after decomposition can be used as a fertilizer to fertilize the soil or it can be used to produce the biogas which is the natural aspect so it would not harm the environment but Non-biodegradable substance would be very harmful to the environment and the living animals.
  5. A Biodegradable substance will become part of biogeochemical cycles and after degradation, it will give back rapid turnover but the Non-Biodegradable substance is not a part of biogeochemical cycles so it never enters in it.
Difference Between Biodegradable and Non Biodegradable Substances

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Substances

Is Biodegradable plastic good?

Biodegradable plastic is good to a certain extent as it helps in reducing the pollution caused by conventional non-biodegradable plastic. Biodegradable plastic is made using renewable materials in combination with chemicals and microorganisms.
These renewable chemicals and microorganisms cause the plastic to decompose and break down when exposed to environmental factors like sunlight, humidity, and rain.
However, not all biodegradable plastics are equally degradable. Plastics that contain plant-based raw materials in higher quantity biodegrade easily and the ones that contain higher amounts of petrochemicals break down into tiny fragments ultimately leading to environmental pollution.

What is Biodegradable paper made of?

Biodegradable paper is made of wood pulp and a natural compound called cellulose which is derived from plant fibers, softwoods, and certain organisms like fungi.

Why is Biodegradable good for the environment?

Biodegradable substances are good for the environment because they break down into natural gases, natural chemicals, and organic materials. Biodegradation is a process wherein microorganisms present in the soil, water, and air act upon an organic or inorganic material and decompose it.
The end products of biodegradation are natural compounds and gases like carbon dioxide and methane that are not harmful to the environment. Gases like methane are used as fuel and thus biodegradation also helps in the conservation of natural resources.

What is an Eco-Friendly environment?

An eco-friendly environment is one that doesn’t pose any immediate or long-term hazard to natural resources such as air, water, and soil. It also implies a living condition that doesn’t result in any kind of pollution or wastage of exhaustible energy resources.

Is glass Biodegradable?

Glass is not biodegradable but it is fully recyclable, hence it doesn’t contribute to environmental pollution.

Is carton Biodegradable?

Carton is partially biodegradable. It is made of plant-based materials like paper board and fibreboard which are both biodegradable and recyclable. In general, most cartons are 75% recyclable and the remaining portion is biodegradable.

Is leather Biodegradable?

Original leather made from animal skin or hide is biodegradable because it is made of organic material. However, vegan leather and synthetic leather are not biodegradable even though they look similar to the original leather.


Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable both are linked with each other with just a small apart. Whenever we are talking about the environment they both come to our mind.

After all, the use of Non- Biodegradable products or material is harmful or toxic for the environment and the living bodies. So we should reduce the use of them.

Apart from this, we should try to use Biodegradable materials instead of this Non-Biodegradable materials. So that we can live in a pollution-free environment.


  1. https://iwaponline.com/wst/article-abstract/23/1-3/339/26653
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