How Long Items Take To Decompose In Landfills

I found these facts regarding how long various items take to biodegrade after we’ve thrown them in the trash very interesting. Seeing that all BC residents will be receiving a cheque for $100 per family member for the Climate Action Dividend, why not use a small amount of that money to actually green your life?  Don’t forget you must register your children via this form to receive the dividend.

After reading the examples of how long items take to decompose in our landfills, why not pay that small extra amount to buy biodegradable garbage bags?  One very small step can make the huge difference of these petroleum based bags taking 20 years to break down in our landfill…and that’s if they have proper exposure to air, etc.  Or check out the time for a Styrofoam cup to decompose…100 years!  If you are a frequent coffee person that likes take-out, why not invest in a travel cup and carry it with you?  Small steps are going to help us clean up our mess. 

 (Source is the UK Department of the Environment)

  • Plastic bags, 10-20 years
  • Glass bottle – 1 million years
  • Plastic Beverage Bottle – unknown, possibly 500+ years
  • Cotton rags, 1-5 months
  • Paper, 2-5 months
  • Rope (natural fiber), 3-14 months
  • Orange peels, 6 months
  • Wool socks, 1-5 years
  • Cigarette filters, 3-12 years
  • Milk cartons, 5 years
  • Leather shoes, 25-40 years
  • Nylon fabric, 30-40 years
  • Plastic 6-pack holder rings, 450 years
  • Styrofoam cup, 100 years
  • Banana peels, 2-10 days
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One Response to How Long Items Take To Decompose In Landfills

  1. Maegan STuart July 3, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Styrofoam breaks down in 700 years, so your info is wrong, and if it’s in a landfill it won’t be exposed to sun or air, so nothing truly breaks down in landfills.

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