60’s Rubbish Take 2

A revisit to the 60’s rubbish tip exposed at Rye Hill in Great Ayton. This old Bird’s Eye bag for Corn on the Cob was floating about on the surface. ¾lb for 3/6. That’s 17½ pence in new money. Decimalisation took place in February 1971 so it’s at least that old. But what really hits home is that after being buried for 46 years there is no sign of any degradation. Not that polyethylene ever really degrades. The bacteria in the soil that would normally break down organic material do not find polyethylene very appetising. It does break down by the action of sunlight but only into smaller and smaller pieces. So in a marine environment for instance where the polyethylene would be exposed to the ultra violet rays of the sun, scientists reckon it would take anywhere between one and one hundred years before it degraded completely. Or rather break down into tiny pieces ending up in the sediment after passing through the guts of fish and other marine life a few times.
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