By Ashlyn Newton
Greetings from the Crater of Diamonds State Park! Over the years, millions of visitors from all over the world have traveled to the park in hopes of finding a diamond of their own. When traveling, visitors bring different types of containers to carry their finds in. These containers often get dropped without notice and litter the search area, and most take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down.
One of the most common materials that visitors bring is plastic. Plastic often takes a long time to decompose and can be broken up into tiny pieces by the plow if left in the park’s diamond search area. Visitors typically bring items like grocery bags, sandwich bags, water bottles, food containers, and pill bottles to hold onto their finds. Each of these are made to of different thicknesses which take different amounts of time to decompose. Grocery bags and water bottles may take up to 450 years to break down, whereas a zippered storage bag may take up to 1,000 years to decay in a landfill. However, these bags never truly decompose; as they break down, they release microplastics that absorb toxins and pollute the environment. A pill bottle takes about 30 years to decompose but may end up in waterways, contaminating ecosystems.
Two other materials that are commonly brought to the Crater of Diamonds State Park are glass and paper. Broken glass vials and jars left in the field may become hazards to other visitors. Paper bags can be a great alternative and only take four to six weeks to decompose. The park provides free paper sacks for guests at the Diamond Discovery Center. Even though they decompose quickly, we ask that if you use a paper sack, you take it with you or dispose of it properly before leaving the park.
Another popular container is a bucket. While buckets may take up to 500 years to decompose, they are sturdier than most other containers and are reusable. You can use buckets time after time, even after leaving the park. The park’s gift shop sells buckets for visitors to carry their sifted gravel or other finds home.
Before taking a trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park, consider ditching leaving the glass and plastics at home and going for more environmentally friendly, reusable containers. If you bring your own container, make sure you take it and all other belongings with you to so that you leave no trace. By using reusable sustainable containers, you help limit the amount of litter at the park and ensure a better environment for future park goers.
Search area last plowed: August 27, 2023
Most recent significant rain: October 5, 2023
Recent diamond finds (100 points = 1 carat):
October 9 – Noah Dixon, Bishop, GA Georgia, 4 pt. yellow; Sharon Gentz, Campbells Port, WI Wisconsin, 13 pt. white; Curtis Draper, Mineral Point, MO Missouri, 8 pt. brown & and 10 pt. yellow
October 10 – Kerry Codoley, Haskell, AR Arkansas, 21 pt. white
October 11 – Randall Nieland, Omaha, NE Nebraska, 3 pt. brown