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How long does it take for hobby materials to decompose in a landfill?

When we think of our favorite hobbies, we often don't think about the waste involved in throwing out all the materials involved. Why would we? Most of the materials from our leisurely activities seem trivial compared to everyday trash waste. However, as with all things garbage, these things add up over time.

Whether you’re a fisher who throws away fishing lines and rope or a perfectionist artist who can’t help but toss out their used canvases, here’s everything you need to know about how long hobby materials take to decompose in landfills:

Train Tickets

Yes, traveling is a hobby! You might not have second thoughts about throwing away train tickets since it's commonly thought they're made of just paper. However, they are coated with a material that can be bad for the environment when it decomposes. Plus, millions of these tickets are printed every year.

While it only takes two weeks for train tickets to decompose in a landfill, consider recycling them instead! Just hold on to them until you get home or find a recycling can.


Assuming it's not treated with chemicals, a canvas can take up to a year to decompose in a landfill. However, if it is treated with chemicals, it can take longer to decompose, and the chemicals will leach into the soil, creating a negative environmental impact.


Plenty of hobbyists will generally use ordinary rope for their needs. This is because common rope tends to decompose relatively quickly since it is made of natural materials such as hemp. However, if your ropes are made from synthetic materials, as commonly found in climbing ropes, it can take much longer. It takes rope up to 14 months to decompose in a landfill.

Nylon Fishing Nets

As with fishing lines, nylon fishing nets are also major culprits in entrapping wildlife while they decompose. As well as this, they also can’t be fully recycled. This makes them a major issue in landfills for destroying biodiversity. Nylon fishing nets take up to 40 years to degrade in a landfill.


Batteries take 100 years to decompose in a landfill! Alkaline batteries cannot be disposed of in any other way, but industrial batteries must be disposed of in line with federal guidelines.

Monofilament Fishing Lines

Monofilament fishing lines are a devastating force for landfills. They have been recorded on multiple occasions for trapping marine animals and wildlife during their lengthy decomposition process. Another major issue with these kinds of fishing lines is that they aren't commonly reused, and the process of making them worthy of keeping after use is lengthy and time-consuming.

If you’re a user of monofilament fishing lines, consider moving to a more sustainable option. It takes a whopping 600 years for them to decompose in a landfill!

Be Mindful of Your Impact

We all love to practice hobbies to blow off some steam, but next time you get stuck in with the hobby you love, think about whether your waste is sustainable. This especially applies if your hobby is fishing, as monofilament fishing lines and nylon fishing nets take a shockingly long time to decompose and can wreak havoc on wildlife that gets trapped within the waste!

Try to cut down on unnecessary disposal of products so that our landfills don't become overcrowded. If you have questions about recycling, start with our Frequently Asked Questions , or visit our Facebook page to stay-up-to-date with the SEAGreen Solid Waste and Recycling Division.

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