Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson
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Larimer County Offices, Courts, District Attorney, and Landfill are closed on May 29, 2017 in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday. Critical services at Larimer County are not disrupted by closures.

 
> Departments > Solid Waste > Education > Fun Pages > Decomposition Dilemma

The Decomposition Dilemma

Banana Imagine throwing a banana peel on the ground and coming back to look it at a week later. Would it look different? Yes, because it's decomposing. Decomposition happens when trash breaks down into its natural elements. Do you know what's needed to help trash decompose?
  • Moisture
  • Air (oxygen)
  • Sunlight
But at a landfill, we try to keep these elements out. Why? Landfill
  • Moisture, such as rainwater or liquids in the trash, can carry harmful chemicals from the trash into the groundwater below.
  • Air just takes up space—space that we'd rather fill with trash so that our landfill will last as long as possible.
  • Sunlight is blocked from the landfill when we add the daily cover.

So, while much (but not all) of the trash in a landfill will eventually decompose, it will take a lot longer since we've nearly eliminated the necessary ingredients: moisture, air and sunlight.

Play the Garbage Graveyard Game!

Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson. All rights reserved.