Long Life of Litter

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According to “Waste News” magazine, glass, plastic, aluminum and rubber items are the most environmentally persistent types of litter commonly found along roadways.

  • Glass is recyclable but not biodegradable.stack-of-junked-carsThrow your glass bottles into the garbage and they’ll still be there a million years from now. Recycled glass can be used in many different ways including as new glass.
  • A glass bottle made from just 50% recycled glass reduces the energy required to make the bottle by 80%. How’s that for a return on your investment!
  • Everlasting Glass:  It takes glass 1 million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite number of tmes!
  • Plastic 6-pack rings take about 450 years to decompose. Recycle them and they can actually be made into new 6-pack rings in a couple of months. Don’t know where to go with them? Pack them up and bring them to Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s Roscoe Recycling Center on Saturday morning.
  • Aluminum cans can take up to 500 years to break down and degrade. With a little bit of effort, your old aluminum can will be recycled into another aluminum can and be back on the shelf in as little as eight weeks.
  • Polystyrene foam is completely non-degradable; it just won’t go away. That foam cup that held this morning’s coffee might still be sitting somewhere one million years from now. Get a refillable mug and carry it with you. It saves the use of styrene and will keep your coffee hot longer if it’s insulated with recycled plastic.
  • The rubber sole of your shoe or boot will take between 50 and 80 years to degrade. Recently a shoe, a little battered but still a shoe, was recovered from an archeological site over 3,000 years old! Many fully intact shoes have been recovered from the Titanic which has been under water since 1912.
  • Auto manufacturers have been using recycled cars to make new cars for at least the past 75 years. Ford Motor Company began using recycled steel for their cars back in the 1920’s. Old enough to remember the scrap metal drives during World War II? That scrap metal was used to make jeeps, tanks and airplanes.
  • Today’s archaeologists think they have hit the “mother lode” when they find the waste site of an ancient city or village. By studying the trash of a 2,000 year old landfill they learn much about the ancient civilization because their trash has not disappeared. How much will an archeologist be able to tell about us in another 2,000 years?
 Last Update: 05/22/2013