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Ahhh, the great outdoors! This season, give some careful consideration to some of these commonly used items. Perhaps you can find a way to avoid them altogether, reuse/repurpose items you already have, and dispose of them properly if you come across them. 

Plastic bags

They seem to be everywhere and many of us reuse them. Unfortunately, they are also one of the most common items dotting our roadways. They come with an expected lifetime of 10 to 1,000 years. Grocery bags, closeable storage bags, garbage bags, and even the ones containing ice are among the culprits.

Monofilament fishing line

While this type of fishing line can be reused many don’t bother. It is dangerous to wildlife as they can become entangled. The line can take up to 600 years to decompose.  

Wet wipes

Wipes are a part of our lives more than ever before. From wiping down surfaces and babies, wipes can take up to 100 years to break down after being tossed or flushed. 

Plastic bags

Along with plastic bags, plastic bottles are a huge offender. This is one of the easiest items to recycle so please make the effort. Otherwise, it’s going to take them 450 years to decompose!

Aluminum cans

Who hasn’t seen a soda pop or beer can when recreating? Sadly, it seems to be one of the more common items humans feel free to fling out of a car or dispose of at campsites. The attempt to burn them in campfires is also a common practice. Unfortunately, it’s going to take 200-500 years for an aluminum can to fully degrade so please, take it home and recycle it properly.

Styrofoam

Found in coolers and even bait containers, it’s estimated this product can take up to 500 years. It is also considered to be one of the most environmentally unfriendly types of waste on our planet today. 

Cigarette butts

And lastly, the oh-so-common cigarette butt. These have the potential to last up to 10 years. When not extinguished they can also lead to wildfires. Going to smoke? Make sure to put it out completely and dispose of it properly.