Most single-use plastic will exist for

at least

450 YRS

Photograph of a single-use plastic bottle with a red, starburst-shaped 1.25 inch sticker on it that says: 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 years.
        We need better options #450yrs.' In the background, behind the bottle, is a green field.

You’ve been recycling for years.
It’s time corporations do their part.

Tell corporations:

“We need better options!”

Get Eco-Friendly Stickers

Photograph showing two 8.5 inch by 12.25 inch sticker sheets side by side with different color backgrounds. Each sheet contains 35 starburst shaped stickers that say, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs'
450YRS stickers come in sheets of 35 and are the most eco-friendly stickers on the market

Apply to household items

Post & Tag

Close-up photograph of a blue plastic bottle, shaped like a liquid soap container. On the front of the bottle is a magenta, sunburst-shaped sticker that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'
You:
“Hey @corporation, we need better options!” #450YRS
Thumbnail of Close-up photograph of a blue plastic bottle, shaped like a liquid soap container. On the front of the bottle is a magenta, sunburst-shaped sticker that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'
Thumbnail of Close-up photograph of a toilet bowl cleaner shaped white plastic bottle with a blue nozzle. Stuck onto the bottle is a blue, starburst-shaped sticker, that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'
Thumbnail of Close-up photograph of a white, cylindrical shaped plastic container with an orange lid. Stuck on the container, is a red, starburst-shaped sticker that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'
Thumbnail of Close-up photograph of a clear, plastic laundry detergent container. On the front of the container, is a magenta, starburst-shaped sticker that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'
Thumbnail of Close-up photograph of a clear, plastic rubbing alcohol container. Stuck on the packaging is a green, starburst-shaped sticker that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'
Thumbnail of Close-up photograph of plastic glass cleaner bottle with a red spray nozzle. Stuck on the bottle is a red, starburst-shaped sticker that says, 'This plastic will exist for at least 450 YRS. We need better options! #450yrs.'

Why

Corporations have put the burden of dealing with their plastic waste on us for decades.

That needs to change.

Most plastic will take at least 450 years to disintegrate, which is terrible for our health, causes thousands of animals to die needlessly, and uglifies the planet.

It’s time to hold corporations accountable.

That’s where you come in.

~ Eric Corriel, artist

Follow the movement

FAQ Top 5

Yes! These are, hands down, the most eco-friendly stickers on the market.

The stickers are made with 100% post-consumer waste materials, do not contain any plastic, and are compostable.

Stickers use Recycle Compatible Adhesive (RCA) which does not contain any plastic and is biodegradable.

The liner (sticker backing) is made with 100% post-consumer waste, does not contain any plastic, and is recyclable (put with paper).

The easiest, and recommended way of using 450YRS stickers, is to put them on single-use plastic items that you already own or have purchased. Then take pics, post to social media, and tag the corporation: Hey @corporation–we need better options! #450yrs.

Keep in mind that as a general rule, you do not have the right to put stickers on objects that do not belong to you and you could face consequences if you do.

Check out the project on Instagram or Facebook to see how others are participating in the project.

Yes, most plastic will last at least 450 years. The chemical bonds in plastic simply cannot be digested by organisms in nature so plastic will never biodegrade. It’d be like asking you to rip steel apart with your bare hands–it’s not gonna happen.

All plastic will eventually wind up in one of four places: landfill, incinerator, a recycling facility, or the ocean. Let’s explore each destination to see what percentage of plastic winds up there, as well as how long a typical plastic bottle would last in each destination.

75% chance plastic winds up in landfill
It is currently unknown how long it will take for plastic to disintegrate in landfill because landfills are designed to isolate their contents from external stimuli such as sunlight, wind, and rain. It is likely that under these conditions, plastic will take several centuries, and perhaps more than 1,000 years, to fully disintegrate into millions of microplastics. Given that timescale, the most likely fate of plastics in landfill is that they will eventually end up leeching their chemicals into the ground and water beneath them.

photo of a bulldozer on top of a giant pile of garbage in a landfill
Landfill in Czech Republic

12% chance plastic is incinerated
Incinerators for plastics are not very common because they are typically extremely expensive to build and maintain. In addition, the proper disposal of the resulting toxic ash is costly and difficult .

Aerial photograph of an incinerator, with one of its smoke stacks emitting a trail of smoke
Stoke on Trent incinerator recycling center based in England

9% chance plastic ends up in a recycling facility
Even in this best-case scenario, it turns out that approximately 90% of the time, consumer plastic is mixed with too many additives, is inseparable from its labeling, or is just too dirty to be recycled into food-safe plastic again. Instead will most likely be “downcycled,” meaning it will be made into a cheaper, lower quality plastic item like a plastic bag, which will wind up in landfill the next time around.

Turns out there’s only a 0.18% chance our bottle will become another plastic bottle.* Yay?

Only 2% of the 9% all single-use plastic items that wind up in a recycling facility are “closed-loop” recycled, meaning they become what they were.
Photo of the interior of an industrial recycling facility. The left side of the photo is dominated by a large conveyor belt that is bringing trash up from ground level, about 20 feet below.
Conveyor belt bringing materials from residential recycling bins at Waste Management‘s recycling facility in Philadelphia
Photo by Eric Corriel
Photo of the interior of an industrial recycling facility. The left side of the photo is dominated by a large conveyor belt that is bringing trash up from ground level, about 20 feet below.
Eventually this is how your recycled material ends up–in a bale that is exported overseas to be cleaned and sorted further. Most of it is too dirty to be refined into food-safe plastic. Instead, most of it will be made into lower quality plastic items, such as plastic bags.
Photo by Eric Corriel

4% chance plastic will wind up in the ocean
In this case, UV rays will cause the plastic to slowly disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces over time, eventually becoming microplastics. Under these circumstances, it is commonly thought that it will take around 450 years for a typical plastic bottle to fully disintegrate into millions of pieces of microplastic.

Photograph of thousands of small plastic items floating in the ocean
Plastic items floating off the coast of Brazil
Close up of an hand with hundreds of specs of multi-colored microplastics
Eventually plastics disintegrate into thousands of tiny pieces called microplastics. These shards just keep breaking down into smaller and smaller parts; they never go away.
Close up of an hand with hundreds of specs of multi-colored microplastics
Many animals mistake plastic for food. Once it gets into their stomach, there's no getting out since it is indigestible. Photo of a dead Albatrosses; view the series here.

As you can see, arriving at one number for how long single-use plastic items will last is challenging. However, taking all these factors into account I believe it is fair and reasonably accurate to say that most single-use plastic will last for at least 450 years. See the information sources section for more detailed information.

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Approximately 75% goes back into this project in the form of:

  • social media staff and advertising
  • creating more stickers
  • warehousing and distribution
  • design services and production

Approximately 20% goes towards making sure Eric Corriel Studios, the independent, multidisciplinary art studio running this project, stays afloat:

  • rent
  • utilities
  • materials
  • equipment
  • staff
  • R&D for future projects

In an effort to systematically reduce replace plastic packaging, approximately 5% of proceeds will be donated to Beyond Plastics, whose mission it is to end plastic pollution by using deep policy and advocacy expertise to achieve the institutional, economic, and societal change.

Yes! Checkout the instructions here.

The Story

Photograph of a man (the artist) looking down on a black, rectilinear, floating pool of plastic trash
The artist Eric Corriel looking down upon a small section of his upcoming art installation, Gyre
Photo: Brett Wood

Eric Corriel is a New York City-based artist who has been making environmentally-focused work for over 10 years.

He came up with the idea for 450YRS stickers while staring at a shampoo bottle in the shower.

“I can’t believe this bottle is going to exist for at least 450 years,” he thought…and the 450YRS sticker was born. Read more about the project‘s origins here.

450YRS stickers come in five different color sheets. Each one contains 35 stickers.