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Thread: How long would it take for a plastic fork to disintegrate in a landfill?

  1. #1 How long would it take for a plastic fork to disintegrate in a landfill? 
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Dallas, Texas
    So I'm stocking the forks at work the other day, and I noticed on the box that these forks are made of corn starch. I knew that they made packing peanuts out of corn starch, I just didn't know that could make heat-resistant forks. What a great idea! ...after a short time exposed to weather, they break down. It made me wonder how long a regular plastic fork would take to break down in a landfill.

    Any ideas?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Key West, Florida, Earth
    Some people want to take fossil fuel out of cars. Frederic Scheer is taking it out of picnicware.
    Scheer, CEO of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Cereplast, says his company has come up with a way to produce things like forks, knives, cups, food packages and other items out of plastic derived from cornstarch, rather than from petroleum-based compounds.
    Because Cereplast's plastic is composed of organic material, the items made from it will dissolve in a compost pile in 180 days or less, Scheer said. In a landfill, a plate made from Cereplast's material might take two or three years to decompose.
    "But compare that to regular plastic, which can take 100 years or more," he said. "Our resin is primarily designed for products to be composted. It will go back to water, CO2 and biomass (often) in less than 60 days."

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  4. #3  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
    Off the top of my head I was thinking of the order of hundreds of years (most plastics are remarkably durable which is why they are so damn useful), but according to this article (What Happens to All That Plastic? – State of the Planet) it could be as long as 1000 years!
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  5. #4  
    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    'Old school' plastic only photodegrades.
    If it is not exposed to sunlight it will last for decades (centuries maybe?).

    But they are working on bacteria that can break down plastic.

    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

    "Religions are like sausages. When you know how they are made, you no longer want them."
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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