Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | April 24, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says very little decomposition occurs to garbage in a landfill cell.

Did you know that the U.S. EPA estimates that glass bottles require a million years to fully break down in a landfill; that plastic foam cups require over 500 years; aluminum cans between 200 and 500 years; plastic bags as many as 20 years, and cigarette butts as many as five years. 

 

More than two-thirds of the material going into landfills is degradable. However, very little change occurs because moisture is the most important environmental variable of degradation. Landfills are kept as dry as possible to help prevent groundwater contamination from runoff. This is little or no oxygen in the landfill cell because of compaction.

 

This environment allows newspapers to be readable more than 20 years after being thrown away. Food, such as T-bone steaks and hot dogs, remain relatively unchanged for more than a decade.  Diapers that are decades old look and smell like the day they were throw out. Banana peels are yellow, even after many years of sitting in the dump.

 

 

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