Do you ever consider what happens to the stuff you toss in the trash every day? For most people, garbage is out of sight and out of mind once it’s taken to the curb and hauled to the landfill. Some items break down after just a few months, but other common items can linger for a surprising amount of time.
Here are some items that take a long time to decompose in a landfill – but can be reused, repurposed or recycled!
Shoes with rubber soles, including sneakers, take between 50 to 80 years to break down. Other shoe materials may biodegrade in about 40 years.
Instead of letting your used shoes linger in a landfill, host a sneaker drive fundraiser with GotSneakers. We’ll pay you $1.00 for each pair of sneakers you can roundup. The old soles will be cleaned up and sent to impoverished regions where they will take on a new life!
Although Americans are recycling the majority of the aluminum they use, about 1 billion tons still winds up in landfills every year. This includes around 36 billion cans, all of which will sit where they were dumped for 80 to 200 years. Why not separate your cans and redeem them for the deposit at the local grocery store?
Infant diapers, adult diapers and feminine hygiene products clutter landfills for 250 to 500 years. Since these items are essential, the best way to avoid excessive waste is to switch to alternatives. Cloth diapers, cotton pads and menstrual cups can all be reused for personal sanitary needs.
When plastic bags go to landfills instead of being reused or recycled, they can take up to 1,000 years to break down. Plastic bottles hang around for 450 years. Reduce your environmental footprint by avoiding bottled beverages and bringing your own bags when shopping.
Glass is so sturdy, it doesn’t make sense to throw it out instead of reusing it. If you do toss a jar or bottle, it will still be in the landfill one million years from now.
When everything else has biodegraded and become part of the landscape, Styrofoam cups and containers will remain. As far as it’s possible to tell, this material never breaks down. Try recyclable alternatives or use real dishware to prevent eternal waste from building up.
The next time you’re about to throw something away, stop and think. Can it be reused, recycled or given to a good cause? Can you replace it with an eco-friendly product? Any small change you can make is a step toward a cleaner planet and a healthier environment.