Legacy of a ‘throwaway culture’

1970s yoghurt pot

1970s yoghurt pot washed up on UK beach

A 40 year old example of a plastic item we all use is still floating around after all this time. Faded and cracked but still largely intact, this yoghurt pot dating back to the 1970s has only just washed up onto a British beach – a symbol of the abiding legacy of our throwaway culture.

The lettering remains clear on the pot despite the fact that it was bought from a Tesco store 40 years ago for 11p. Discovered in Teignmouth, Devon, the pot was among 25 tonnes of rubbish cleared off beaches by volunteers in a four-day blitz.

Volunteers cleared millions of items of marine litter from beaches up and down the UK during the blitz at the end of March.The collection of deadly flotsam also included thousands of Lego pieces washed off a container ship in 1997, a TV, a set of dentures, a plastic chicken and thousands of plastic bags. @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-25-tonnes-rubbish-cleared-UK-beaches.

Tim Andrewes, councillor on Cornwall County Council, said: ‘The discovery of the yoghurt pot just shows how far and for how long this stuff travels as well as how long it takes to degrade – if it ever does. ‘It’s not just the effect of what gets washed up but the animals that ingest the plastic. It is frightening what is found in their stomachs.’

Our discarded items of plastic bags, fabrics, tins and glass etc take time to fully biodegrade, in some cases, a very long time. For example, a plastic six-pack can ring can take up to 100,000 years to biodegrade!
How long do everyday materials take to fully biodegrade?

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Article by The Grocery Box Company Ltd. Apr 2014