Throughout our posts, we’ve suggested different ways that you can reuse and recycle items in your home to assist in the sustainability of our environment. We’ve also spoken of many companies that create environmentally friendly products that are easy recycled, biodegradable, or use ingredients that don’t harm the environment during production. But we’ve yet to explain why it is so important to be conscious of your purchases.
During the production of certain products – jeans for example – the dangerous chemicals used to dye and style the denim immediately pollute the water that the factories run-off into. We are aware of the harmful affects that come from this, but we don’t always think about what happens after the product has been created, used, and tossed away.
I researched some common household items and was shocked to find out how much time it takes certain products to decompose in the environment. According to the U.S. National Park Service website, these are the most common items that people search for:
– Orange/Banana Peel (2-5 weeks)
– Paper Towel (2-4 weeks)
– Newspaper (6 weeks)
– Apple Core (2 months)
– Wool Sock (1-5 years)
– Cigarette Butt (1-5 years)
– Plastic Bag (10-20 years)
– Nylon Fabric (30-40 years)
– Leather (50 years)
– Tin Cans (50 years)
– Rubber-Boot Sole (50-80 years)
– Aluminum Can (80-200 years)
– Disposable Diapers (450 years)
– Plastic Beverage Bottles (450 years)
– Monofilament Fishing Line (600 years)
– Glass Bottle (1 million+ years)
The list above are estimated amounts of time that it would take for each item to decompose as there are many external factors (i.e. location, chemical composition of the item etc.) that could have an impact on their decomposition. But the more a product is filled with chemicals or made from non-biodegradable materials, the longer it’s going to take to decompose. That’s why it is so important to be conscious about what you are purchasing, whether you’re buying clothes or cleaning products. Jeans are primarily made of cotton, but many do use synthetic materials for the dyeing process, and synthetic materials do not decompose. Again, it depends on the materials used to make the jeans, but if you set out to buy eco-friendly jeans that are made without synthetic productions, they could potentially decompose in a matter of months! As for the jeans that you may have that are not eco-friendly, check out our blog for suggestions on ways to reuse them. And when it comes to glass bottles or any other item on the list above, reuse and recycle as much as you can and do your part to help our environment.
Do blue jeans take a long time to break down in landfills?