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How long does a plastic bag take to biodegrade?


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Answered 2010-12-07 12:50:26

Plastics in general are not considered biodegradable due to their molecular stability. Plastics do not easily break down into simpler components.

A plastic bag will break down into smaller pieces of plastic, but that is not the same as biodegrading.

Some estimates are 500 years to degrade, some more conservative are 1000 years. The bags will photodegrade, but that will take a long time, hence the 500-1000 year estimate. The problem is there are no bacteria breaking down the plastic. Eventually some may evolve to do so, but science may need to step in and speed the process along.

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a plastic bag is not biodegradable.


A cotton bag will take a few months to biodegrade/decompose.


How long does it take to biodegrade?According to the February issue of Oprah magazine :It takes a brown paper bag 1 to 5 months to biodegrade;cigarette butts and filters take 12 years;plastic bags, caps and lids take decades;aluminum cans take 2 to 5 centuries; andstyrofoam clamshells (the containers take-out food comes in) takes virtually forever.


No-one really knows, but estimates suggest 500 to 1000 years.


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