As time goes on, more and more landfills continue to be created worldwide as we endeavor to find new locations to store our trash and various discarded objects. While efforts are being made to promote recycling programs and a range of other methods to limit the amount of garbage we’re putting into the earth, they’ve only been able to produce limited success. This is because so many of our products are designed for single-use purposes and can take massive amounts of time to decompose. This article intends to explore ten of the most long-lasting items that are added to our landfills every day, according to Science Focus.
We hope that this list can help provide you with a better understanding of why we must act now to help protect the integrity of the environment. If you’d like to find out even more about the impact single-use products can have on the environment and what you can do to help keep the planet clean for future generations, please consider checking out the range of expertly crafted resources and top-quality sustainable products proudly provided by PlantSwitch today.
The first object to note on this list of trash that spends the most time decomposing in landfills is glass bottles, which can take up to one million years to break down completely. This highly problematic length of time is why people must remember to recycle their glass bottles and other glass products to keep them out of landfills. The problem with this is that most glass is actually not recycled properly if at all due to the cost. Much like most metals, glass has the benefit of being able to be recycled over and over again into new products, so there’s no good reason that it should ever end up in a garbage dump.
The second object on this list of the longest-lasting items in landfills is plastic bags, which shouldn’t be surprising for anyone that’s been paying attention to their local news over the past several years. Several countries and states have taken steps to begin regulating and even outright banning different types of single-use plastic products, including plastic bags, which can take up to 500 years to break down. Other countries have enacted higher taxing policies on plastic bag usage. Environmentally-minded individuals are pushing for further reductions of single-use plastic bag usage around the globe.
The third object on this list of longest-lasting trash is unlikely to surprise anyone; plastic bottles. Plastic beverage containers can take about 450 years to break down completely, though many of them are likely to take even longer. Alongside other plastic products like straws, single-use cutlery, and more, plastic has proven itself to be a major factor negatively impacting the planet’s health. Not only does it produce significant health hazards for both humans and animals, but it also contaminates food and water sources when it finally does break down.
Much like plastic bottles, disposable diapers take approximately 450 years to break down. Since disposable diapers were invented back in the late 1940s, that means the first ones ever used are still rotting away in a landfill somewhere to this very day and will remain there for hundreds of years to come. As gross and annoying as some people may find them, we all know the solution to this particular problem; it’s time to go back to reusable cloth diapers.
Number five on this top-ten list of longest-lasting trash is tin cans, which can take approximately 200 years to break down completely. Like glass bottles and other glass products, cans can be easily recycled and should always be disposed of correctly to keep them from ending up in a landfill. Additionally, anything that comes in aluminum can also be made available to consumers in a glass container.
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Rubber-soled shoes take up the sixth spot on the list, though some evidence suggests they deserve a much higher ranking. According to Science Focus, the time it takes for rubber-soled shoes to break down in a landfill is somewhere between 50 and 80 years. However, other research has indicated that the material found in certain brands of trainers can last in landfills for up to 1,000 years. Always be sure to look up shoe recycling programs before tossing them in the trash. Several businesses- like Nike- have developed shoe recycling initiatives to reuse old shoe materials and keep them out of landfills.
According to research, tin cans take approximately 50 years to decompose. However, much like with products contained in aluminum cans, tin can products can also be stored in a range of other containers, like glass. But even more importantly, canned foods can be avoided altogether by purchasing fresh, local ingredients for your household.
Clothing fabrics can take up to 40 years to fully break down, if not more. Before tossing your clothes in the trash, consider donating to local charities or shelters or even repurposing them into cleaning rags, reusable shopping bags, and other valuable household items. Several businesses and retailers like H&M have even begun collecting old clothes to refurbish them into new products in exchange for credit!
Related: Consumers Want Sustainable Products
Plastic Film Wrapping
The next item on this list is plastic film, including product wrappers, clingfilm, chip bags, and more. These take at least 30 years to break down when disposed of but can thankfully be replaced by a range of environmentally sustainable products like Etee and Abeego Beeswax paper. A lot of work needs to be done to help tone down the use of plastic packaging, so it’s the job of consumers to demand change from both businesses and legal policymakers to help protect the environment.
Paper Coffee Cups
The final item on this list is disposable paper coffee cups, which typically take up to 20 years to break down fully. Thankfully there is an easy workaround to using these products; always carry a reusable bottle, cup, or tumbler for your to-go drinks, and invest in a few mugs for your regular office coffee.
Do you want to help protect the planet through top-quality, environmentally sustainable products that you can use for years to come? Feel free to explore the range of spectacular goods provided by the industry experts at PlantSwitch to learn more.