How long will it take to degrade? - EcoVibe

How long will it take to degrade?

Everything we do affects the planet somehow. Some items will be around longer than others... In some cases, that's many lifetimes away! Next time you buy something, ask yourself: how long will this last?


Over 400 years! Just think how many toothbrushes you’ve used to date. Every. Single. One. will still be there long after you’ve passed! In the UK alone, a potential 264 million are thrown away each year. Luckily, there are some great alternatives out there such as our Bamboo Toothbrush by Georganics. It’s made from 100% biodegradable bamboo and is completely vegan too!

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles will take a whopping 500 years to degrade! Considering that according to Recycle Now, every UK household uses around 480 plastic bottles each year, but only recycles around 270. Do the maths and you’ll soon realise around 35 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK and 23 million of them won’t get recycled. Where do they go? Into landfill or into the environment. Make a super easy change today and swap to a reusable bottle – and make sure to carry it around with you! Either use ones you already have or shop our collection today.

Coffee Cups

These bad boys will take 30 years to degrade – that’s a full grown adult! It’s a common misconception that these are actually recyclable – they’re not (or not easily or widely accessible). The waterproof plastic lining means they could actually contaminate the recycling load, causing the whole lot to be sent to landfill. Instead, remember to bring your reusable coffee cup when you get your caffeine fix. And remember, most coffee shops will actually give discount when you do! It’s a win for both you and the environment.

Cigarette Butts

Although only small, cigarette butts will take up to 10 years to degrade. The filter part that looks like white cotton is actually a form of plastic called cellulose acetate. Even worse, cigarette filters are full of toxins which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come into contact with them. Did you ever need another reason to ditch the dirty habit?

Tin Can

You might think – finally, a plastic free item! But these still take around 50 years to degrade. Make sure your used cans are responsibly disposed of. Don’t buy it if you don’t need it, reuse it if you can, and finally recycle.

Plastic Bags

Who’s still using plastic bags? These things take around 1,000 years to degrade! The 5p Bag Tax had a huge effect in the UK. Since the tax was introduced, the number of bags given out in supermarkets has decreased by more than 80%. Cut plastic bags out for ever. You can buy cotton bags from most plastics and remember to bring them with you for shopping.

How long will it take to degrade? Infographic

What’s more, remember that although in time many of these items will degrade, plastic does not biodegrade and disappear. It will become brittle over time and degrade into smaller and smaller pieces, known as microplastic.

Each piece of plastic is still around and may be for the next thousand years, either in the ocean or as a toxic timebomb in landfill. That's why we need to start thinking about reusable or compostable items. Luckily, you're in the right place! Make one small change today.

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