New research reveals that items in litter typically originate less than two miles from where they’re found — and unless humans remove them, most of these items will never leave the environment.

For the study, researchers from the University of California, Riverside spent a month collecting trash from seven sites across the Inland Empire. They examined its composition, discerned the manufacturers of many items, and thanks to receipts, were also able to determine where the items were purchased. 

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