Mariana Butte Golf Course

County Offices, Courts and the Landfill will be closed Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. Critical services at Larimer County will not be disrupted by this closure.

> 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: Mariana Butte Golf Course by Steve Moore. All rights reserved.