Generally, it takes decades and hundreds of years for plastics to degrade into harmless (less harmful) fragments or turn into carbon dioxide and water and return to natural circulation.
Degradation generally refers to the reduction of the number of carbon atoms and the molecular weight of organic compounds. Different scholars hold different views on degradation. There is a view that degradation products can only be called degradation if they are finally decomposed into carbon dioxide and water.
The degradation time required by various waste bai plastics is different, mainly due to different materials. There is no statistical data for this specific data, which is decades or even hundreds of years, short years or less than one year.
It takes about 200 years for plastic bags to rot when buried in the ground, which seriously pollutes the soil. Degradation of waste plastics with landfill will not only occupy a large amount of land, but also the occupied land will not be restored for a long time, which seriously affects the sustainable utilization of land. If the waste plastic products entering the domestic garbage are landfilled, it will not degrade in 200 years, but it will take 1000 years to completely degrade.
Plastic bags are bags made of plastics (polyethylene, polypropylene, polyester, nylon, etc.), which are essential items in people’s daily life and are often used to hold other items. It is widely used because of its advantages of low price, extremely light weight, large capacity and easy storage, but it has been banned from production and use by some countries because of its long degradation cycle and difficult handling.
Since June 1, 2008, China has implemented a plastic limit order: “All supermarkets, shopping malls, bazaars and other retail places have implemented a system of paid use of plastic shopping bags, and no plastic shopping bags are allowed to be provided free of charge, and the production, sale and use of plastic shopping bags with a thickness of less than 0.025 mm are prohibited nationwide”.
In March 2018, the Panamanian government said that in order to reduce the amount of marine litter in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, they decided to ban shops from using disposable plastic bags.