SEP 10, 2018 08:57 PM PDT

Here's How Long it Takes Your Garbage to Decompose

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Humans produce an unbelievable amount of waste, most of which either go on to be recycled or heads to the landfill to decompose. But have you ever wondered how long it takes for specific types of garbage to decompose after it’s been dumped off?

There’s no easy answer to this question, but a lot of it will probably out-live you. In most cases, food bits and paper are biodegradable and decompose rather quickly, but synthetic materials like plastic and Styrofoam take significantly longer.

To put this into perspective, foodstuffs like banana peels and apple cores will decompose in as little as a few weeks, and the same can be said about newspapers and other paper products. But non-environmentally-friendly objects like plastic water bottles, plastic-infused disposable diapers, and Styrofoam cups can take hundreds of years or more to decompose.

Sadly, many objects in the latter category end up in landfills when they can be easily recycled.

Before throwing away your next bag of trash, consider what you’re throwing away and think carefully about how it might impact the environment.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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