How Long Does It Take Garbage to Decompose???

From a sustainability perspective, answering the question of how long it takes various types of garbage to decompose is important. In fact, we should reduce consumption of products that generate waste materials that take a long time in landfills to get completely decomposed.

As William L. Rathje and Cullen Murphy note in Rubbish! The Archeology of Garbage, misconceptions about the role of landfills in decomposition are often profound.

“There is a popular notion that in its depths, the typical municipal landfill is a locus of roiling fermentation, of intense chemical and biological activity,” the authors observe. “The truth is, however, that the dynamics of a modern landfill are very nearly the opposite of what most people think. Biologically and chemically, a landfill is a much more static structure than is commonly supposed.”

Let’s see how long it really takes for various wastes to decompose in landfills (based on waste category) with some relevant statistics. It should be noted that the rate of decomposition can depend upon landfill conditions.

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Examining the Arguments against Waste to Energy

Waste-to-Energy (WTE), the process of converting waste into energy, is growing in popularity as a preferable option to landfilling. It is also believed by many that the new developments in WTE technologies will change the entire industry. There are, however, some common arguments against WTE. This article attempts to point out some of the major arguments against WTE and examine those arguments with some up-to-date information and facts.

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Zero Solid Waste Programs for Business More than Zero Landfill

When companies talk about Zero Waste programs, they often tend to focus on the Zero Landfill component rather than the more broad ambition of Zero Waste, generally speaking. The latter approach is more holistic in nature, supporting the redesign of resource life cycles so that the maximum value of those resources is maintained, and so that disposal of resources is eliminated.

Zero Landfill can be viewed as one of the major elements of Zero Waste, being aimed at complete landfill diversion of all solid wastes generated.

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How to Achieve Zero Waste in Your Business

With the cost of waste disposal rising every year along with the green aspirations of customers, businesses large and small alike are looking to reduce the amount of waste they generate. In fact, achieving Zero Waste, or at least a component of it, Zero Landfill, has become a popular business objective for businesses of all sizes and types.

What Is a Zero Waste Business?

According to Zero Waste International Alliance, “Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”

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Zero Waste, Zero Landfill and Role for Recycling

What Is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste embodies the goal of a closed-loop system that reuses resources rather than creating waste. According to the Zero Waste Alliance, Zero Waste includes:

  • Zero Solid Waste
  • Zero Hazardous Waste
  • Zero Toxins
  • Zero Emissions

This approach, according to Zero Waste Alliance, argues that “the entire concept of waste should be eliminated. Instead, waste should be thought of as a “residual product” or simply a “potential resource” to counter our basic acceptance of waste as a normal course of events.”

Such an approach, Zero Waste Alliance continues, requires consideration of the entire life-cycle of products, processes and systems within the context of a detailed understanding of our interactions with nature and a search for inefficiencies at all stages. In this respect, through better design of products and processes, the generation of waste can be avoided.

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