Why Does Rubbish Always Smell The Same?

13 September 2016, 16:12

Rubbish Bins

Mystery Hour Question

Why does rubbish always smell the same?

Ben, Hereford



Name: Professor Hal, Brighton

Qualification: Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Brighton

Answer: There is always going to be some food or protein in the rubbish. Most bad smells are volatile things that contain sulphur. The smell of flatulence contains hydrogen sulphide which is also the smell in rotting eggs and also used in stink bombs. If you have a particularly meaty dinner, your level of flatulence is higher next day because of higher sulphur, particular smells produced by breakdown product of flesh. Bacterial breakdown of protein compounds make all rubbish smell the same.

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