31 March 2016

Waste degradation time

Used paper collected for paper recycling in Ponte a Serraglio near Bagni di Lucca, Italy

Unfortunately, one of my family members is allergic/asthmatic and this comes with enormous consumption of paper tissues.

We're very conscious of the fact that this is an unnecessary strain on the environment.

We already stay away from the small packs, and only opt for tissues made of recycled paper and packed in easily recyclable packaging, but that's still a lot of trash.

So I started looking at the degradation times for tissues, and on ecowarriors.it page I've found the following list (I've sorted it according to time):

Average waste natural degradation time in the soil:
Waste materialTime to degrade
A cardboard box2 months
An apple core3 months
Paper tissues and napkins3 months
Matches6 months
Newspapers6 months
A cotton or woollen garment1 year
A milk or juice carton1 year
A cigarette end1-2 years
Chewing-gum5 years
Magazinesover 10 years
An aluminium can for drinks10-100 years
Telephone and top-ups cardsover 100 years
A glass bottleabout 400 years
A disposable diapercirca 400 years
A plastic bottle or bag100-1000 years
Plastic dishes and cutlery100-1000 years
A polystyrene caseover 1000 years

I think the colours are pretty self-explanatory.

And since tissues land in 3 months green category, we've decided to place them simply into our compost box. 

As my husband said: "We'll return our bacteria to the environment ;)"