What Is Difference Between Degradable And Biodegradable? Posted On: Jan-26-2018 By: Alex Jones
In our daily life we counter different kinds of packaging. This packaging may contain our grocery, food items or any daily usage products. We usually find written degradable or biodegradable on them. What this fuss is all about? Degradation refers to break down of the molecules into more simple form. This may involve break down through ultraviolet rays, some chemical reaction or through any natural aspect taking place all the time around us. Degradation takes place in different ways which depends on the chemical composition of the substance, here we will discuss the two most popular types of decomposition:
 
Degradable
 
Degradable materials are those which cannot be broken down into the simple form with help of natural aspects such as UV rays, heat and soil. The composition of these kinds of materials involve aluminum, plastic and other complex chemical substances. Degradable materials when open to natural environment are very resistant and take a lot of time to decompose. Degradable plastic or polythene bags can be taken as the example of degradable items. You can just decompose them by cutting, grinding and crushing which also consume a lot of energy thus making it expensive way of recycling. To handle this environmental issue a lot of research is being conducted. Now to decompose degradable plastic quicker, chemical additives are used which allow the plastic to break down really fast as compared to standard plastic.
 
Biodegradable
 
Now comes the biodegradable materials, as the name indicates that they are degradable as well as the natural aspects are also involves in the break down process. In biodegradation microbes or microorganisms such as bacteria play a vital role in breaking up the material in simple form. Other natural aspects such as heat, UV rays, water, oxygen and acid rain play the role of catalyst which facilitate the process of degradation. Paper bags and cardboard boxes are biodegradables as their composition involves pulp of trees. After biodegradation the substances become part of the soil, so this is the most eco-friendly way of degradation. Biodegrading is being encouraged all over the word, now the plastic bags are made from biodegradable substances such as corn and wheat starch instead of petroleum substances. These bags when left in temperature 50 degree Celsius degrade really fast with help of other natural catalysts.
 
Difference Between Degradable And Biodegradable
 
Degradable and biodegradable are the most discussed ways of degradation but they are totally different from each other. Here are the some points on the basis of which they are in contrast to each other.
 
1. Decomposition

The first and the foremost thing is decomposition. Biodegradable items can be decomposed easily with the help of natural environment. Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi break them down in the more simple form eventually making them part of the environment again. For example if you through a banana peel a lot of microbes will act on it and decompose it with the help of other natural resources such as light and heat hence making it part of the soil again. On the other hand degradable substances are those which are very resistant to natural environment and do not decompose easily because of their nature of composition such as plastic polythene bags. They even take thousands of years to decompose.
 
2. Environment Friendly
 
Biodegradable materials decompose naturally which make them highly eco-friendly. They are broken down by the microbes hence becoming the part of the natural environment again. This also increases fertility of soil and also make fossil fuels. As compared to this, degradable materials are threat to the environment as they are not decomposed easily. For example if you bury a plastic bag in soil it will remain as such even after many years.
 
3. Nature Of Composition
 
Biodegradable and degradable materials also differs in nature of composition. Biodegradable substances are mostly made up of natural resources such as trees. Paper board or cardboard is made from pulp of the palm tree and thus decompose very easily on the other hand degradable materials are made from petroleum and polythene and other complex chemical substances which make them harder to decompose.
 
4. They Include
 
Biodegradable substances may comprise of waste which is caused by different eatables such as fruits and vegetables. They also include paper material such as thin papers and cardboards. In contrast to this degradable substances involve plastic, polythene, materials made from petroleum, aluminum and other toxic chemicals which make them hard to decompose. 

Biodegradable bags, they do not fragment down into biomass, carbon dioxide and water. A degradable bag is still a petroleum-based plastic bag that fragment down into smaller pieces.

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