Guess how long it takes for a single plastic bottle, discarded in the ocean, to break down. A year? A decade? A lifetime?
Researchers say it could take up to 450 years for a plastic bottle to biodegrade. Fishing line takes 600 years. A cigarette filter can linger for 5, while glass takes nearly one million years to fully break down. According to Ocean Conservancy, scientists routinely discover plastic in more than half of all sea birds and turtle species, who often mistake the colorful trash as food.