Although plastic bags can be recycled and often are, most normally end up in a landfill somewhere (where they can take hundreds of years to decompose), or out to sea in the Texas-sized ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ the place where plastics and other non-biodegradable debris are brought by currents from all over the world. There the plastic eventually does degrade, leaching toxic chemicals and breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, yet still remaining a polymer, toxic to marine wildlife. Eventually the plastic degrades into pieces small enough to be eaten by neuston (water striders, beetles, and other organisms that live at or near the ocean surface), thus entering the food chain.
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