The World Around Us

Chemicals in Our World

What happens when something biodegrades in a landfill?

Biodegradation describes the process by which microorganisms consume a material and convert it to compounds that are found in nature. This process can happen either aerobically (with oxygen involved in the process), or anaerobically (without oxygen involved in the process). A related term is “compostable”—this specifically indicates that a material will biodegrade/break down when it is placed in a compost pile.


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