Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7 Lesson 8 Lesson 9 Lesson 10 Lesson 11 Lesson 12
Lesson 13

Marine Debris Biodegradable Timeline
Some marine debris, like food waste or paper, are able to degrade (break down chemically) and disappear within a short period of time. 
Other debris, like glass bottles, tin cans, and fishing lines, take a very long time to break down and can take several hundred years to degrade. 
Many plastic debris that are created using human-engineered materials like nylon, polyethylene, and polypropylene, take an especially long time and may not even degrade completely. 

Without being able to degrade, they may stay in the ocean forever, unless they are removed by people or marine animals. 
Take a look at the chart below to see roughly how long it takes for different items to biodrade.

Paper towels
2 - 4 weeks
6 weeks
Cardboad box
2 months
Apple core
2 month
Waxed milk carton
3 months
Biodegradable 6-pack ring
3-6 months
1-3 years
Shopping bag
1-20 years
Painted wood
13 years
Foam cup
50 years
Tin can
50 years
Styrofoam buoy
50 - 80 years
200 years
Plastic 6-pack ring
400 - 450 years
Disposable diaper
450 years
Plastic bottles
450 years
Fishing line (microfilament)
600 years
Glass bottles / Jars


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