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[greenyes] Estimates of half-lives for organics in landfills
Does anyone have any data or referenced estimates on the half lives the
decomposition of waste in a "typical" landfill? We are looking for data to
estimate the impact of recycling various items on the gas and leachate
generation of landfills, using data for specific materials, rather than
assuming that everything decomposes at the same rate.

For example, at a 1988 solid waste conference at the University of
Wisconsin, for example, Professor Bob Ham estimated that the decomposition
half-life of food in a landfill is between ½ to 1½ years, while for paper,
it is between 5 and 25 years. 

And in a report for the Norwegian government, a study in 2000 put the half
lives at the following:

	Wet organics		2.8 years	
	Paper			8.4 years
	Textiles			10.5 years
	Wood			10.5 years
	Plastic			50 years

Thanks much,

John Reindl, Recycling Manager
Dane County, WI 

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