Plastic water bottles never actually decompose. They photo-degrade. This means that the sun causes the plastic to break down into tiny pieces and the pieces just get smaller and smaller. Since plastic is made of oil, a naturally occurring substance, it will EVENTUALLY break down but this takes an estimated 1,000 years.
Water bottles are typically made from some type of plastic, and plastics are so widely used because they are very durable. The molecular bonds in plastic are difficult to break through any natural processes of decomposition, taking decades to break down. Even then, it doesn’t completely break down, according to this site. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will break plastic into progressively smaller pieces, but it cannot fully decompose. Because of this, recycling is a much better alternative.
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