How many years does it take paper plates to break down in landfills?



  1. 0 Votes

    Even though paper is a pretty flimsy material that would normally degrade fairly quickly, there are issues with harmful chemicals used in paper products contaminating soil and drinking water, so a lot of landfills are actually designed to inhibit the natural decomposition of garbage, even food and other wastes that should be biodegradable. Studies have shown that paper bags do not break down in landfills at a substantially quicker rate than plastic bags (and, as this slate article demonstrates, we don’t even really know how long plastic takes to decompose: There’s no reason to believe that paper plates would decompose any faster than other paper products. Paper plates often can’t be recycled, either, if they’ve been stained with grease from cooking oils or greasy foods, so they are probably best avoided or used as little as possible.

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