Trash Lifetimes


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Just because you threw them away, it doesn’t mean that they’ll disappear as quickly as you think. The lifetime of your trash can be equivalent to generations. Your grandchild or great grandkids can still inherit most of your trash. Here’s a quick rundown on how long it takes for your average trash to decompose if they were exposed to the elements —

Glass bottle: 1 million years
Monofilament fishing line: 600 years
Plastic beverage bottles: 450 years
Disposable diapers: 450 years
Aluminum can: 80-200 years
Boot sole: 50-80 years
Styrofoam cup: 50 years
Tin can: 50 years
Leather: 50 years
Nylon fabric: 30-40 years
Plastic film canister: 20-30 years
Plastic bag: 10-100 years
Cigarette filter: 1-5 years
Wool sock: 1-5 years
Plywood: 1-3 years
Waxed milk carton: 3 months
Apple core: 2 months
Newspaper: 6 weeks
Orange or banana peel : 2-5 weeks
Paper towel: 2-4 weeks

The timelines above are for those that will be left exposed to the elements (sun and air). But imagine if these were buried under other garbage in a landfill, without much light or oxygen. They would probably last even longer. Improper waste management leads to the  pollution of our natural resources and man-made structures like sewers.

Think about what you buy and how you dispose of them. Do your best to reuse/recycle items or just bring them over to the appropriate recycling center.