13 Mind-blowing Facts about Recycling that’ll Amaze your Kids

If you’ve been following the recycling story on the Internet, chances are that you’ve pretty much covered all the ‘interesting facts’ out there. Every time you come across a post promising ‘amazing facts’ about recycling, you feel like you’re being served up an old dish on a new plate.

For example, the fact that one ton of recycled cardboard packaging can save 2.5 tons of wood or recycling one can of aluminum equals enough electricity to operate a television for up to 3 hours or using recycled scrap metal instead of virgin ore results in 75 percent energy savings. Old dish, old dish, and oh God, really old dish – maybe not good enough to make your kid go, “Whoa!”

But what if I told you that there are still some relatively lesser known facts about recycling that haven’t made their way into common public knowledge yet? What if I told you there are certain facts about recycling that can help blow your kids’ minds away and inspire them to start taking recycling seriously? Intrigued? I am sure you’re a little bit, so let’s explore 13 such mind-blowing facts about recycling:


1. Americans have earned $25 million from recycling aluminum cans since 1976, according to Can Manufacturer’s Institute. If only there was a job like that. Oh wait, there is! Get your kids to sell the household scrap and let them keep the earnings. It’s a great way to get them to recycle.

2. Americans dump cell phones containing gold/silver worth $60 million every year, claims an infographic released by scrap metal recycling company Sims Metal Management. Whoops or shall I say, “hoops?”

3. Approximately 500,000 trees have to be cut down each week, so you can read your Sunday newspaper, or your kid can read one textbook. Shady experience!

4. 13,500 is the number of aluminum beverage cans that Californians recycled every minute back in the year 2000. Do Californians really have to be the best at everything?

5. Nearly 75 percent of all aluminum cans ever produced in the history of mankind are still in use today. Tell me, does that not make your eyes pop out?

6. Researchers from Rutgers University built a 42-foot-long bridge over a river using plastic beams made from polystyrene cups and polyethylene milk jugs in 2002. Who dares walk on it?

7. In 2008, Britain shipped more than a million unsold copies of singer-songwriter Robbie Williams’ dud album Rudebox to China to be used for resurfacing roads. Tell me anything more ‘crushing’ than that!

8. A nut orchard in Australia converts the shells of vintage Macintosh computers into houses for pest-eating birds. Now that’s something Apple founder Steve Jobs could never have anticipated!

9. If all the aluminum cans recycled in 2010 are stacked on top of one another, we’ll get 1,454 Empire State Buildings. Clearly, aluminum cans are our favorite recyclable.

10. Scent of a poo: Two Indonesian students converted cow manure into environment-friendly air freshener emanating a natural aroma of herbs and digested cow food.

11. Move over pine, oak, and mahogany…we prefer recycled paper for our coffin! A British company manufactures coffins from hardened recycled paper and sells it in a range of interesting colors. Who says dying has to be boring.

12. A chewing gum takes about five years to disintegrate in the natural environment. It will take seven years for your body to digest it if you swallow it. Okay, that may not be entirely true but the lesson learned here is: don’t toss, don’t swallow. Compost!

13. It takes 215 cans to make a supermarket trolley and 670 aluminum cans to make a bicycle. What can a can not do?

The tone of the post may be lighthearted, but you and I both know that the subject is not. Recycling is a serious business and we need to start taking it seriously if we care enough for our environment!

(Image Source: recyclingsupply.com)