Biodegradation can be defined simply as the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. How long this process takes will vary hugely depending on the item, which is why recycling materials which resist the process, such as glass and plastic, is so important.
To put into context just how important, let’s take a look at how long some of these materials take to biodegrade.
A paper towel takes around 2-4 weeks to biodegrade. Given that this is shorter than most fruit and veg, it’s easy to see why paper towels needn’t be recycled.
It might surprise you to learn that apple cores can take as long as two months to properly decompose. The flesh around the core is much more resilient than you might think.
A cotton t-shirt will take around 2-5 months to biodegrade. A polyester mix t-shirt, on the other hand, can take anywhere between 20 and 200 years to biodegrade, depending on the blend.
An engineered wood crafted from multiple layers of thin veneer, plywood takes around 1-3 years to properly biodegrade.
Despite its size, a cigarette butt can take up to 10 years to fully biodegrade. Given that around 18 billion cigarettes are sold every day, this is a frightening statistic.
Although a natural material, leather can take up to 50 years to biodegrade. This is simply due to the way that the leather is treated during the production process.
This is where things start a little more alarming. An aluminium can take around 6 weeks to manufacture, but it can take up to 200 years to biodegrade.
In the UK alone, over 1.7 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year, and a single plastic bottle will take around 500 years to fully decompose. However, only 30% of that plastic is actually recycled.
While you might have thought that plastic was the most resistant material to biodegradation, it’s in fact glass. A glass bottle could take up to 1,000,000 years to properly biodegrade. Here’s some perspective: by that time, the Great Pyramid of Giza will have also eroded.
At Brown Recycling we provide waste management and recycling service for Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe and the surrounding areas, helping to reduce waste sent to landfill and achieve our zero to landfill target. To learn more about the materials we can recycle and how our services could benefit you, simply contact our professional team today.
You can ask us a question online using our contact form. Simply provide your name, email (purely for confirmation purposes) and the details of your enquiry, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
“We are hugely grateful to Brown Recycling for their help on DIY SOS: The Big Build in Stoke. Dave and the team went above and beyond to clear the site and then bring in other suppliers who also supported this great cause. Thanks to the generosity of countless suppliers and volunteers, Stoke now has a community centre that will support its residents for many years to come.”Read more testimonials
Rated 4.8 / 5 based on 332 reviews
Excellent service on a recent Hazardous waste removal from one of our sites. Paddy and Stacey wasted no time in arranging for our waste to be removed in surprisingly quick turnaround. 10/10...1 week ago
Hired a skip to clear a huge pile of garden waste. Arrived on time, picked up bang on time, dead easy to book and pay. Courteous, helpful drivers. Job done! just as it should be, without drama. Highly...1 month ago
Very professional service and the customer service team are very helpful and knowledgeable. We have been working with browns and using their services for a number of years and cannot fault it. Very co...1 month ago
Terry was very efficient. We will use brown for skips again...2 months ago
Had problems with getting the skip into our drive but Browns persisted and 3 trucks later the 3rd driver got the job done. Incredible service from a very professional and competent company. Special me...2 months ago
Really efficient service, competitive price and they dropped off skip exactly where we asked them to. Easy to book a skip over the weekend using their online booking system. Very helpful when we nee...3 months ago
I ordered a skip at short notice and it arrived as requested. Having finished with it early Terry came and collected it very promptly which freed up the driveway. A Good service and reasonably priced....3 months ago
Brilliant service - I booked for the wrong date, but Browns were really helpful and changed the booking at the last minute....4 months ago
We chose Brown Recycling because out of the firms we rang the lady on the end of the phone knew exactly what we needed and was very helpful. ( Yes you can place a skip in a council paying car park) A...5 months ago
A big thanks to Phil, always helpful and polite when collecting cardboard, nothing too much trouble ....5 months ago
Christie has been great in providing us with a total review of our waste services on site. If you are looking at reviewing your waste service then I would highly recommend that you reach out to her as...6 months ago
really fast and a easy process. Thank you Christie...6 months ago
Christie has been most helpful and informative whilst booking a new service for plastic and general waste recycling. Would recommend :)...6 months ago
Christie was very helpful, she managed the whole process very efficiently and met our expectations. We now have the service and commercial offering we need for our business waste. We would recommend...9 months ago
Quick and really reliable service.... was a pleasure dealing with Christie!!!...9 months ago
Requested amendment to current waste collection. Very helpful and was able to answer all queries and adapt to our requirements. Definitely recommend...10 months ago
We had a visit today from Mark and Andy dropping off our new waste bin. I would just like to acknowledge their outstanding customer service. They disposed of the built up waste that we had gathered si...11 months ago
Full marks to Andy and Mark. Went above and beyond today and would highly recommend them to anybody looking to recycle large quantities of waste. Professional, efficient and very approachable...11 months ago
First time using Browns, they were clear, efficient and got the job done. Will continue to use their services....1 year ago
New to sorting a bin service for our new business. Christie and Brown Recyling has been great with helping us select the right type of bin required as well as not overspending for the sake of it. He...1 year ago
Super easy to set up a long term skip hire, Christie made things nice and clear and the prices were good too! everything was ready to go really quick, highly recommend Browns...1 year ago