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Differentiate between biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances with the help of one example each. List two changes in habit that people must adopt to dispose of non-biodegradable waste, for saving the environment.

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Hint: Biodegradable wastes or pollutants can be defined as a material wastes which could be easily decomposed in the presence of biotic (microbes) and abiotic (temperature, oxygen etc.) factors, without causing any pollution in the environment. On the other hand, non-biodegradable wastes or pollutants are the types of material wastes which cannot be decomposed easily by the environmental microbes or microorganisms.

Complete Answer:
Biodegradable SubstancesNon-Biodegradable substances
Substances or wastes can be easily decomposed in the environment. Substances or wastes cannot be easily decomposed in the environment.
Such substances or wastes do not produce any harm to nature and dwelling organisms.Such substances or wastes may exhibit severe effects over nature and dwelling organisms.
Substances are composed of natural constituents.Substances are composed of chemical and synthetic constituents.
Such substances can be recycled and reused constantly.Such substances cannot be recycled.
Existence of such substances is for a very small duration in the environment.Existence of such substances is for a very longer duration in the environment.
Examples: Cow dung, paper etc.Examples: Glass and plastic materials.


Degradation of biodegradable wastes takes place in the presence of both biotic and abiotic sources, leading to breakdowns of the complex components into simpler components (organic matter) and finally mixes into the soil.
The non-biodegradable wastes such as glass and plastic products do not degrade into the soil and thus cause pollution. They also cause toxicity to the soil, water and environment. So, to reduce these issues, the non-biodegradable wastes can be disposed of either by recycling or by landfill.

Furthermore, the two most important transformations that people must implement as a practise regarding disposal of the non-biodegradable wastes are:
(i) Proper segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes, and finally their proper disposal.
(ii) Use of unconventional energy sources, use of public transport and others.
(iii) Adapting waste management skills to make out maximum applicability from the wastes.

Note: The use of 3 R’s in significant waste management i.e. reduce, reuse and recycle could bring a big change in regulating pollution control. Apart from that facilities of separated dust-bins or disposal bags are arranged.