'Pretty mind-blowing': KFC plastic bag from the 1970s is found during a clean-up of the ocean floor

A volunteer group has found a KFC plastic bag believed to be from the 1970s-80s according to the bag’s logo during underwater clean up off Bulcock Beach Queensland. This single-use plastic was found full of silt and tangled in rocks eight meters underwater.

The volunteer Divers, who cleaned up each month, said the bag was ‘almost fully intact’. Elliot Peters, the group’s founder, said a KFC spokesman believed the bag was from the 1970s, judging by the logo. An underwater pictured shared by group founder Elliot Peters. ‘In the 18 months we’ve been operating, we have collected over 500kg of debris, including almost 20km of fishing line,’ he said.


Mr. Peters said it was hard to know the exact date the plastic bag was dumped in the water. ‘But obviously you don’t keep a KFC bag lying around and then drop it into the water 40 years later, so it’s obviously been around in the environment somewhere, whether underwater or not,’ he told the ABC. ‘Either way, that’s pretty mind-blowing.’

A ban on single-use plastic bags was introduced by the Queensland Government on July 1 last year, amid mounting pressure to tackle plastic waste. Plastic bags can take between 10-1000 years to decompose and when left in the environment they can dangerously affect wildlife who mistake the rubbish for food.

‘We hear about how long plastics last, especially as microplastics, but for a plastic bag that wasn’t really thick … and still mainly intact and identifiable and 40 years old,’ Mr. Peters said.

‘We take the time to carefully remove debris, sort it, reuse or repurpose what we can through local artists, recycle or dispose of responsibly whatever is left over,’ Mr. Peters said.

‘In the 18 months we’ve been operating, we have collected over 500kg of debris, including almost 20km of fishing line.’

Mr. Peters said the group struggle to keep up with the demands of the underwater clean-up.

‘Sadly we are barely able to cover even 1000 square meters before we need to start again in the same spot, there are areas with dozens of tires and cobwebs of fishing line that we would love to clean up but we just don’t have the time,’ he said.


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