Coke can from 1988 washes ashore in Scotland

CRAMOND, Scotland -- A Coke can that spent decades bobbing in the ocean is finally headed for proper disposal after washing ashore on a beach in Scotland.

Volunteers working with the Marine Conservation Society found the can on a beach outside Edinburgh earlier this month during a cleanup event. They were able to pinpoint the can's age due to its design promoting the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

The years the can spent floating in the ocean are just a fraction of its lifespan. Though estimates vary, it's widely agreed that it can take several centuries for an aluminum can to fully decompose.

"This really unusual find shows that when it comes to litter, there is no 'away' and we need to ensure that anything we are using today is not being picked up by volunteers in 30 or more years' time," Marine Conservation Society officer Catherine Gemmell said in a news release.

Aluminum that is properly recycled, meanwhile, can be recycled infinitely. The Aluminum Association, a manufacturing industry group, claims that nearly 75% of all aluminum produced in the United States is still in use today

The decades-old can was just one piece of nearly 10 pounds litter that the team of 31 volunteers cleaned from a 330-foot stretch of beach that day. Though the majority of the waste was plastic, they also found a large amount of sewage debris including 100 wet wipes that shouldn't have been flushed down the toilet.
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