8 Everyday Things

That Take Long to Decompose

By Patti Sunio

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Let’s be honest. At one point, we all didn’t care about the everyday materials we use, for as long as it was convenient, efficient, and easy to use. But in case you didn’t notice, Mother Nature has been protesting and we cannot anymore be blind to how our actions have negatively affected this planet.

Maybe it’s about time we do something about the waste we produce. Here are 8 things that may be contributing to the world’s landfill:

Glass bottles

Do you have any idea how long it takes for glass bottles to decompose? Maybe a million or two million years, experts believe, or maybe never. But the good news is, glass bottles can be recycled. So it’s best to be careful with the bottles you use (try not to break them!) so you don’t throw it away, it doesn’t end up in a landfill, and can still be recycled.



Batteries are one thing we barely pay attention to. It’s easy to use and throw away, too. But it takes about a hundred years for batteries to decompose. To minimize battery waste, we can explore rechargeable and solar-powered options!


Plastic bag

It takes about 1,000 years for plastic bags to decompose. And did you know that when we throw away our used plastic bags, it most likely will end up dumped in landfills or into the ocean, and eventually into the digestive system of birds and other wildlife? So, not forgetting to bring your own shopping bag on your next grocery trip makes a great difference.


Diapers and sanitary napkins

It’s honestly difficult to imagine a world without diapers and sanitary napkins. It’s definitely more convenient, right? But the sad news is, it takes about 500 to 800 years for these to decompose. These types of products are difficult to recycle as it contains a variety of materials altogether. The idea of menstrual cups and cloth napkins are being revisited today, and for environment’s sake, it’s worth giving a try.

Spray bottles

Spray cans are a hazard to the environment in more ways than one. Not only does it take the bottles about 200 to 500 years to decompose, its chemical contents are harmful to the environment, too. These are particularly damaging to the ozone layer!


Aluminium cans

So many of the products we use on the daily come in convenient aluminum cans, right? Still, it takes more than a lifetime—about 200 years—for it to decompose. However, if properly disposed to be recycled again, you can expect it to be back on the shelf in about 60 days.


Plastic bottles

Plastic bottles used to be convenient until we realized its damaging effects on our planet. It takes about 450 years for it to decompose. Plastic also damages the ecosystem, particularly marine life. So, make the little effort to pack them together for recycling, or better yet, bring your own reusable bottle with you, wherever you go!


Ink cartridges

Ink cartridges are another thing we easily just buy, use, and throw away. Aside from these taking about 450 to 1,000 years to break down, ink cartridges leak harmful chemicals into the soil, too. Some brands have initiated efforts to buy old ink cartridges, while others have made refillable options.


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