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How Long Does It Take Garbage To Decompose?

Dec 20, 2016

From an environmental perspective, answer to this question of how long it takes various types of garbage to decompose is one of great importance. In fact, we should reduce consumption of products that generate waste materials that take a long time in landfills to get completely decomposed.

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.

Plastic Waste

Plastic products are very common in our modern life. According to an estimate, every year we use approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil just for producing plastic water bottles. Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. But plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-1000 years to decompose, while plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.

Disposable Diapers

Just in the United States alone, every year more than 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown away. These disposable diapers take approximately 250-500 years to decompose in landfills, thus underscoring the efforts of programs offering diaper and absorbent hygiene product recycling.

Paper Waste

Based on volume, paper the largest element in American landfills. Normally, it takes 2-6 weeks in landfills to get completely decomposed. But if we recycle paper items, we can easily save lot of landfill space, while reducing the energy and virgin material requirements of making non-recycled paper.

The Time Taken By Other Waste Items to Decompose

Different sources have different information on actual time various waste items take in landfills to decompose.

  • Foamed   Plastic Cups    - 50 years;

  • Milk   Cartons                 - 5 years;

  • Painted   board                - 13 years;

  • Cardboard                       - 2 months;

  • Styrofoam                       -  It does not biodegrade;

  • Ropes                              - 3-14 months;

  • Waxed  milk carton       - 3 months;

  • Train    tickets               - 2 weeks,

Final Note

The increasing waste volume are a major concern for mankind. So, the best way to deal with this problem is avoiding products that generate waste materials that take more than a year to decompose in landfills through a proactive design for recycling. Here Jolly Sunshine offer biodegradable material for producing bags to protect our environment. Some European countries like France has already announced that the disposable plastic bags would be banned and replaced by biodegradable bags from 2016.


Below is different kinds of biodegradable material for your choice: Let’s talk with us and give you suggestion!

Biodegradable material

Degradation time

100% corn starch

3-6 months

BPA microorganism

1 year


1 year

Starch based material

2-3 years