Biodegradable and non-biodegradable – what happens to waste?

By: tddoyle


posted on: December 13th, 2017

JENNA ELLIOTT

WHAT IS BIODEGRADABLE AND NON-BIODEGRADABLE?

‘Biodegradable’ is a description of a material that says that it can be broken down by bacteria or other small life forms such as fungus in a process called ‘decomposition’. This means that the material decays and therefore does not last as waste for a long period of time.

‘Non-biodegradable’ means that the material is not ‘biodegradable’ and therefore stays in its form for a long period of time. This means that if an item made from a non-biodegradable material is thrown away so that is it left on the ground, it will remain there.

WHAT ARE BIO-DEGRADABLE AND NON-BIODEGRADABLE THINGS?

Examples of biodegradable things are:

– Fruit and vegetables and their skins
– Paper
– Wood

Examples of non-biodegradable things are:
– Plastic
– Glass
– Metal

WHAT HAPPENS TO NON-BIODEGRADABLE WASTE?

Non-biodegradable waste, like plastic and glass, are still thrown away in huge quantities. These items of rubbish go to landfill sites. These are large pits in the ground where the rubbish is put. The waste just stays like this. It is a very dangerous place to go because the mountains of rubbish can fall or slide and crush people.

This method is an unsustainable and unfair way of dealing with the things we throw away, but there are few alternatives for those things which cannot be recycled or biodegraded. The best way to cope with rubbish is to minimise it as much as possible. This is done by recycling all that we can.

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