How Landfills Biodegrade and at What Temperatures

DTS CUT AND PASTE Fanette Guilloud

We have generated this post as general information for consumers and businesses that are interested in knowing how landfills are biodegrading materials and at what temperatures they operate in. Below you will see white papers that show how landfills biodegrade and at what temperatures landfills operate at(in different countries). We also share some of the benefits of testing the ASTM D5511-02(35C) and testing the ASTM D5511-12(52C) as well as operating temperatures of landfills based on EPA standard default operating temperatures of 131F (55C).

BioSphere tests their products at 95-125F or 35-52C which is under the Federal Limit for running a landfill which is currently at 55C or 131F(here) and (here)

The Federal Limit for operating a landfill is 131F or 55C, A Hawaii landfill was operating at 87C or 188F (here), most landfill operators operate landfills higher for methane production for sale of energy.

The code of Federal Regulations in the United States and the EPA regulate the emissions and how to operate landfills within the United States. The Regulation of operating Landfills are found in TITLE 40 Part 60 Subpart Cc found (here)

  1. The average operating temperature of landfills is between 35-45C and are above 50C in some cases 60C see page 18. (here)
  2. 45C and above for optimal methane production (here)
  3. Swedish National Energy Administration “Ch4 one of the most important greenhouse gases” (here)
  4. Germany 55C, 70C and 90C (here)
  5. Lefebvre, X., Lanini, S. and Houi, D. (2000), The role of aerobic activity on refuse temperature rise, I. Landfill experimental study . Waste Management and Research, 18: 444–452. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3070.2000.00144.x
  6. Landfills often above 40C Tanaka et al. (1986)
  7. Spruce Ridge and Atlantic landfills showed average temperatures of 120 °F at Riverbend,118 °F at Middle Peninsula and 125 °F at Spruce Ridge.
    Kelly, Ryan J., et al. “Relationships between analytical methods utilized as tools in the evaluation of landfill waste stability.” Waste Management 26.12 (2006): 1349-1356.
  8. The minimum (average) and maximum (averagetemperatures
    are 19.2 and 31.5°C, respectively, with daily maximum temperatures during the hottest months commonly exceeding 41.2°C (INDIA, Bhalswa)
    Srivastava, Sunil Kumar, and A. L. Ramanathan. “Geochemical assessment of groundwater quality in vicinity of Bhalswa landfill, Delhi, India, using graphical and multivariate statistical methods.” Environmental Geology 53.7 (2008): 1509-1528.

BioReactor Landfills

BioReactor Landfills operate at 37C as normal and 60C as high temperatures(here)

This list below is of bioreactor landfills in the United States and does not represent all international bioreactor landfills.

United States

  • California
  • Yolo County
  • Florida
  • Alachua County Southeast Landfill
  • Highlands County
  • New River Regional Landfill, Raiford
  • Polk County Landfill, Winter Haven
  • Kentucky
  • Outer Loop Landfill
  • Michigan
  • Clare county
  • Mississippi
  • Plantation Oaks Bioreactor Demonstration Project, Sibley
  • Missouri
  • Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • ACUA’s Haneman Environmental Park, Egg Harbor Township
  • North Carolina
  • Buncombe County Landfill Project
  • Virginia
  • Maplewood Landfill and King George County Landfills
  • Virginia Landfill Project XL Demonstration Project
  • Canada
  • Sainte Sophie Bioreactor Demonstratio Project, Quebec
  • Australia
  • New South Wales
  • WoodLawn, Goulburn
  • Queensland
  • Ti Tree Bioenergy, Ipswich

For more information on biodegradable plastic please visit BioSphere Plastic .


Other Articles