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How Long Until It's Gone?

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Have you ever wondered how long your waste takes to break down and return to the Earth?  I did and some of the statistics are shocking!  


As I've always said, change comes through education.  Once we know the implications of plastic waste in our world, we will be able to do nothing other than CHANGE!  So let's Learn: The biggest takeaway from this information is this: plastic will never fully biodegrade.  "While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds", explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

  • Paper towel: 2-4 weeks
  • Apple core: 2 months
  • Cigarette butt: 1-5 years
  • Plastic grocery bag: 10-20 years
  • Tin can: 50 years
  • Styrofoam: 50 years
  • Rubber sole: 50-80 years
  • Aluminum can: 200 years
  • Plastic beverage holder ring: 400 years
  • Plastic bottles: 450 years
  • Disposable diapers: 450 years
  • Fishing line: 600 years

*Again, it's so important to remember that the plastic items on this list will never disappear, rather only break down into tiny pieces which will then either get ingested by wildlife or poison our waterways and soil.

***Source: U.S. National Parks Service, NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S.)

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