The Decomposition Dilemma
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?
- Air (oxygen)
But at a landfill, we try to keep these elements out. Why?
- 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!