A basic duty of every citizen is not littering. However, some people, regardless of their social classes, throw garbage everywhere, in parks, beaches, creeks, rivers, lakes and other public places, affecting water quality and the environment.
Littering can block storm drains and cause floods. It is rudeness. Littering ruins the image of any person. It is a shame.
Conscious citizens do their part to keep the city clean and nice.

In past days, garbage consisted basically of organic material such as food leftovers that quickly degraded in the nature. The garbage of modern man consists of piles of packages and other residues.

Decomposition times of commonly discarded materials :


Life span


Over 100 years


200 to 500 years


Not determined

Chewing gums

5 years

Nylon ropes

30 years

Long-life packages

100 years (aluminum)

PET bottles

Over 100 years


Not determined

Cigarette butts

5 years


Not determined


Not determined

Rubber gloves

Not determined

Metals (machine parts)

Around 450 years

Paper and cardboard

Around 6 months

Plastics (packages, utensils)

450 years


Not determined

Plastic bags

Over 100 years


Not determined












Source: São Paulo State Secretariat of Environment

Times can vary with environmental conditions.

Benefits of selective collection, recycling and residue minimization
Reasons to recycle

Tips to reduce waste, to reuse and to recycle On-line Environmental Education for All