A variety of anaerobic sediments and soils consumed CFC-11 (CFCl3) and CFC-12 (CF2Cl2). An aerobic soil did not. Active microbial metabolism was required for CFC-12 uptake in all of the sediments examined. CFC-11 uptake was faster in the presence of microbial activity, but reduced components in the sediments also resulted in nonenzymatic CFC-11 consumption in most instances. CFC-12 uptake in a culture of Clostridium pasteurianum provided a model for the sediment uptake of CFC-11 and CFC-12 that required active microbial metabolism. Consumption of CFC-11 in the presence of reduced hematin demonstrated a potential mechanism for nonenzymatic CFC-11 consumption. These findings demonstrate that CFC-11 and CFC-12 are not biochemically inert under anaerobic conditions. This suggests that anaerobic degradation of CFC-11 and CFC-12 in anaerobic landfills might prevent some disposed CFC-11 and CFC-12 from entering the atmosphere. The results also suggest that CFC-11 and CFC-12 cannot be used as stable tracers in anaerobic environments. Furthermore, although the microbial sink for atmospheric CFC-11 and CFC-12 is much less than current anthropogenic release, this sink could have a significant long-term effect on the amount of CFC-11 and CFC-12 reaching the stratosphere.