2013 August NN – Lifespan of Litter



Did you know that most littered trash has a life span of more than one year? This means that once a trash item ends up in the environment, it sits for a long time before it degrades or disappears. Here are the times it takes for garbage to decompose in the environment:

  • Aluminum Can 200-500 years
  • Apple core 2 months
  • Batteries 100 years
  • Cardboard Box 4 weeks
  • Cigarette Butt up to 10 years
  • Cotton Rag 1-5 months
  • Disposable Diapers 500-600 years
  • Foamed Plastic Cups 50 years
  • Glass Bottle 1Million years
  • Leather up to 50 years
  • Lumber 10-15 years
  • Monofilament Fishing Line 600-800 years
  • Milk Cartons (plastic coated) 5 years
  • Newspaper 6 weeks
  • Nylon Fabric 30-40 years
  • Orange Peel 2-5 weeks
  • Paper 2-5 months
  • Painted Wooden Stake 13 years
  • Paper towel 2-4 weeks
  • Plastic 6 pack cover 450 years
  • Plastic Bag 10 to 20 years
  • Plastic Coated Paper 5 years
  • Plastic Soda Bottles 400 years
  • Plywood 1-3 years
  • Rubber Boot sole 50-80 years
  • Styrofoam- More than 5,000 years
  • Tin Cans-50-100 years
  • Tin Foil- It does not biodegrade
  • Wool Clothing- 1-5 years

The things we take for granted are the things that may have lasting effects. Little do we realize that these things that we throw away may exceed our own life span.

Trash can be easily carried away by wind or rain, and may end up miles from where it originates. Make sure trash items – plastic, styrofoam, cigarette butts, and others – make it into a proper receptacle. Recycle as much as you can, and secure trash at home with tight-fitting lids.

1 Comment

One Response to 2013 August NN – Lifespan of Litter

  1. Jessica says:

    I’m so glad that we are using cloth diapers for our son! I had no idea that disposable diapers took 500-600 years to decompose!

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