SEP 10, 2018 8:57 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.
You May Also Like
DEC 24, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 24, 2019
Santa's not the Only One that's Making Haste - the Magnetic North Pole's Wandering Accelerates
According to the latest World Magnetic Model (WMM) released by the  NOAA's National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI), the  Earth&...
JAN 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 20, 2020
Oldest Materials on Earth - They Predate Our Solar System
In 1969, a meteorite crashed through the sky and landed near the small town of Murchison, Australia. Had shattered into many fragments after its dramatic l...
FEB 04, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 04, 2020
A Gamma-Ray Burst Like Nothing Else Before
Gamma-ray bursts (GRB) are among the most explosive and energetic celestial events that have been observed by astronomers. Since its first detection back i...
FEB 10, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 10, 2020
Portable Biofactories that Can Crank Out Medicine On-Demand
A hydrogel is a water-dispersed, polymer colloid that's been popularly explored in biomedicine. A collaborative project between the University of Texas...
FEB 17, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 17, 2020
Graphene, the Toughest 2-D Material
An allotrope of carbon, graphene is a two-dimensional (2D) sheet of a nearly endless hexagonal network. In many of the studies conducted on this Nobel-winn...
FEB 21, 2020
Cancer
FEB 21, 2020
Understanding cancer heterogeneity
A team of researchers from Cornell has taken an innovative approach to crack the diversity code of cancer cells. Using a statistical modeling technique mor...
Loading Comments...