Plastic isn't biodegradable. That means it doesn't break down naturally in the environment. You may have heard that plastic takes 450 years to biodegrade, but this isn't exactly true. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some plastics could take 500 years or more to break down completely under normal conditions. However, most plastics don’t make it past your local dump or recycling center because they aren’t decomposing as quickly as people think they are!
So, does plastic biodegrade? No. Now, you might be thinking: "What about all of the plastics in landfills that are always covered in dirt and bugs? Don't they eventually break down?"
In a word: no again. The stuff you see rotting in landfills is not actually plastic; it's simply a composite of different materials (plastic plus dirt) that has been broken down by water and oxygen over time. But just because something is made up of parts doesn't mean that those parts can be replaced with other molecules! The same goes for polymers like plastic—they're large molecules made up of smaller units (monomers). And we know from chemistry class that this type of structure makes them very stable—meaning it takes an extraordinary amount of energy to break them apart into smaller pieces or change their chemical composition into something else entirely.
Landfills are designed to keep the garbage from coming into contact with the oxygen and water that would allow biodegradation to happen. Solid waste is compacted tightly within a landfill, while liquids are absorbed by filters or collected in tanks inside the landfill. Landfill liners are designed to prevent leaching of chemicals and liquids into the groundwater below your city's toilets and recycling centers.
In order for a material to biodegrade, it needs both oxygen and water; landfills make sure that neither of these things has access to your garbage so that nothing can break down!
Even if all of the plastic bags in the world were biodegradable and disappeared overnight, it would still be a long time before we saw any real results.
The reason for this is that plastic takes a very long time to break down. In fact, according to some estimates, it can take up to 500 years for a single plastic bag—even if it did biodegrade—to disappear from our planet. This is because of how big and hard-to-break down plastics are compared with other natural materials. If they do eventually break down into smaller pieces (which they may or may not), those pieces can still cause problems by getting into the ocean and being ingested by animals like fish or birds who then become sick or die because of them!
Plastic is also a major pollutant in our oceans. This material can take anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years to biodegrade, which means that it will be around for a long time unless we find some way to remove it. Already, there are areas of the ocean where plastic outweighs plankton by a ratio of 6:1. The problem is only getting worse as plastics continue finding their way into the waste stream and eventually into landfills or directly into rivers and streams that empty out into bodies of water like oceans, lakes and rivers.
Plastic has become so prevalent in the world's oceans that many marine animals ingest it by mistake while looking for food on beaches or near coastlines; this includes fish such as tuna who ingest pieces of plastic thinking they're prey items such as krill (a type of small crustacean). It's not just cetaceans like whales who suffer from this mistaken ingestion—seabirds are also known to choke on bits of plastic debris when feeding on fish eggs or other organisms floating on open waters.
Humans are also at risk from consuming these particles because they tend to come up with any other kind of contaminants found in waters where wastewater is dumped untreated; some research suggests that these chemicals may act as endocrine disruptors which interfere with hormones needed for normal development and reproduction among both humans and animals alike."
Some of the most toxic plastics are those with a particularly high-density polyethylene (HDPE) content. These include shopping bags, food packaging and plastic bottles.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to avoid these types of plastics in everyday life, you can help reduce their impact on the environment by using reusable shopping bags, getting water from glass or metal containers rather than plastic bottles, and avoiding food packaging where possible.
It's important to note that some plastics are meant to be re-used, but it can be difficult to tell which ones they are. Some plastics are not meant for re-use at all because they're designed specifically for single-use purposes. But other types of plastic—including many that you might find on your food packaging or in household goods—are designed to be reused or recycled again and again. The best way to tell if a plastic item is recyclable is by looking at the numbers printed on it; these numbers indicate what type of plastic it is, and whether it can be recycled (the number 1) or not (the number 4).
Composting is a way of biodegrading organic waste in a controlled environment. Composting is the process of breaking down organic material, like food scraps and yard waste, into soil. The heat generated from composting can be used to help cook foods such as chocolate or meats that need to be cooked at temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 C).
Compost piles can be turned by hand with pitchforks or shovels, but some compost bins feature turning mechanisms that mix the compost instead of manually turning it by hand. This speeds up the entire process and allows you to have finished compost in less time than if you were simply piling up your scraps outside on your lawn or porch.
When people say we should "bury" our waste in the ground, they mean that we should put it in a well-designed landfill that keeps the waste separate from groundwater.
A landfill is a controlled environment where garbage is stored and buried. The goal of a landfill is to keep the garbage from coming into contact with oxygen and water, which would allow biodegradation to happen. Landfills are also designed to prevent leachate (the liquid that seeps out of waste) from contaminating groundwater.
Did you know that the process by which plastic biodegrades and breaks down is different than for natural materials? Because of its chemical composition, plastic does not break down as quickly as plants, so it takes much longer for waste to decompose. If you've ever seen a photo of an abandoned building covered in graffiti or a mountain of trash, you're familiar with how long things can take to decompose—perhaps even decades or centuries.
In fact, it can take up 500 years for a single plastic bag to disappear! This may seem like an eternity when we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainably. In addition to being unsightly (and smelly), these piles also contribute significantly towards our landfills' pollution levels while continuing their contribution towards climate change by emitting methane gas into the atmosphere when they eventually do break down (even though this process continues at a very slow rate).
We're all guilty of using plastic and throwing it away without a second thought. But we can help the planet by making better choices and using biodegradable alternatives when possible. The more people who know about this issue, the more likely we are to make progress towards a brighter future with less pollution!