Kathy L. a Flin Floner who is a great friend of the environment, gave me some interesting information she received at a seminar at the Winnipeg Conservatory.
How long does it take to decompose a …
Banana peel – 1 month
Corn based plastic – 45 days
Cigarette butt – up to 10 years
Aluminium can – 200 – 500 years
Plastic bag – up to 1,000 years
Styrofoam cup – 1 million years
It‘s no wonder people are concerned about litter.
This reminds me of something I read a while ago where researchers took drill cores (like they do for mineral exploration) in a landfill in New York State in the late 1990’s. In one section they found lots of meat. It was at the time there was a two day power blackout in 1965. They concluded the meat was thrown out after being unrefrigerated for too long. After 30 years it was still meat.
Information in newspaper columns need better sources than ‘I read an article a while ago!’ so I went to Google to get the facts. While I didn’t find the information about meat, I did find the Garbage Project, a 23 year archeological dig in 10 landfills that discovered in all kinds of interesting facts about garbage and people’s habits.
They found newspapers that were readable whether they were 5 or 50 years old, grass clippings and even carrots and heads of lettuce.
Garbage needs to be in landfills not floating in the environment. However, landfills just hold things that break down very slowly! If stuff is going to be around for such a long time, we need to put what we can to good use by recycling and composting.