The estimated decomposition rates of common marine debris items

Marine Debris: don't leave it to Mother Nature

How long until it's gone? Discover the estimated decomposition rates of the most common types of marine debris.

Garbage, litter, trash. Our oceans and coastal lines have been invaded by thousands of small, medium and large pieces of unwanted man-made products.

Nature is not able to decompose everything humans produce. Taking care of our trash is critical, if we still want to ride waves in crystal clear blue waters.

Let's take a look at how much time is needed to decompose marine debris items put aside by contemporary societies:

Orange/Banana Peel: 2-5 weeks
Paper Towel: 3-4 weeks
Newspaper: 6 weeks
Cotton Ropes: 1-5 months
Apple Core: 2 months
Cardboard Box: 2 months
Cotton Shirt: 2-5 months
Waxed Carton: 3 months
Photo-Degradable Beverage Holder: 6 months
Plywood: 1-3 years
Wool Socks: 1-5 years
Cigarette Butt: 1-5 years
Plastic Grocery Bag: 10-20 years
Plastic film Canister: 20-30 years
Condom: 30 years
Styrofoam Cup: 50 years
Foamed Buoy: 50 years
Tin Can: 50 years
Leather: 50 years
Rubber Boat Sole: 50-80 years
Aluminum Can: 200 years
Plastic Beverage Holder: 400 years
Plastic Bottle: 450 years
Disposable Diaper: 450 years
Fishing Line: 600 years
Glass Bottle: 1 million years

Help the planet. Say no to plastic bags, and collect a single marine debris item, every time you leave the beach after a surf session. uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more on our About section.