How long does it take for skateboards to decompose?

September 2, 2023
min read

Short answer

The decomposition time of skateboards depends on the materials used. However, on average, it can take anywhere from 50 to 100 years for a skateboard to fully decompose.


Skateboards, made primarily of wood, metal, and plastic components, undergo decomposition over time through various processes. The decomposition of skateboards starts with the breakdown of its organic material, such as the wooden deck. As time goes by, the wood is subject to natural decomposition processes, including microbial activity and weathering. Moisture, temperature variations, and exposure to sunlight contribute to the decomposition of the wooden deck, causing it to degrade and eventually disintegrate. In the presence of fungi and bacteria, the cellulose and lignin present in the wood start to break down, returning nutrients to the soil.

The metal components of skateboards, including trucks and hardware, also undergo decomposition, albeit at a much slower rate compared to organic materials. However, metals can corrode over time when exposed to moisture and environmental conditions. Rust formation is a prevalent form of decomposition for metal components, as the iron in the metal reacts with oxygen, leading to the formation of iron oxide. This rusting process weakens the metal gradually, causing structural integrity issues and eventual disintegration.

Lastly, the plastic parts of skateboards slowly break down through a process called photodegradation. When exposed to sunlight and UV radiation, the long polymer chains in plastic begin to break apart. Gradually, the plastic becomes brittle, loses its structural integrity, and starts to fragment into smaller pieces. However, plastic decomposition is a significantly slow process, and the resulting microplastics can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, contributing to pollution.

In conclusion, the decomposition of skateboards involves the breakdown of different materials over time. While organic materials like wood can degrade relatively quickly through microbial activity and weathering, metal components corrode and gradually disintegrate. Plastic, on the other hand, undergoes photodegradation, becoming brittle and fragmenting into smaller pieces. Understanding the decomposition processes of skateboards is crucial to assess their environmental impact and develop sustainable practices for their disposal and recycling.

Is it possible to recycle skateboards?

Intresting facts

  • Skateboards, typically made from wood and layers of glue, can take anywhere from several months to several years to decompose naturally depending on the environmental conditions they are exposed to.
  • When left to decompose in landfills, skateboards release greenhouse gases such as methane. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
  • The adhesive used in skateboards, often epoxy resin, can take hundreds of years to decompose. This adhesive is not biodegradable and can harm the environment if not properly disposed of.
  • Wooden skateboards may be more environmentally friendly compared to those made from other materials like plastic or metal as wood is a renewable resource. However, the process of harvesting and processing wood for skateboards can have some negative environmental impacts.
  • To reduce the environmental impact of skateboards, sustainable alternatives are being explored. These include skateboards made from bamboo, reclaimed wood, or composite materials that require fewer natural resources.

Summary and final thoughts

The decomposition time of skateboards depends on several factors such as the materials used and environmental conditions. Traditional skateboards made from wood and resin can take several years to decompose in a landfill. However, modern skateboards constructed with composite materials like carbon fiber or aluminum may take much longer to decompose due to their non-biodegradable nature. When left in natural environments or exposed to moisture, decomposition times can vary greatly. Therefore, it is crucial to consider sustainable alternatives or recycling options for skateboard disposal to minimize their negative environmental impact.

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