Environmental Engineering Reference
shows the decomposition pathways of the major organic and inorganic components of
biodegradable wastes, and Figure 5 shows the process in more detail (Waste Management
Paper 26B, 1995). Throughout the process of degradation, because of the heterogeneous
nature of waste, all the different stages may be progressing simultaneously until all the waste
has reached stage five and stabilization of the landfill has been reached.
Figure 4. Major stages of waste degradation in landfills. Source: Waste Management Paper 26B, 1995.