How Many Recycled Cans Does It Take to Make an Airplane?

February is the month I finally force myself to clean out and organize my office for the new year. It’s an annual ritual worthy of a season-long special of Hoarders, a head-on collision between my weakness for made-to-be-broken New Year’s resolutions and my deculttering phobia.

The good news is that my yearly office cleaning gives me a chance to sort out the hundreds of press releases and news clippings I’ve saved during the year for my annual Top Ten Shocking Eco-Facts blog post. Remember, being the Green Cheapskate, that’s “eco” as in ecological as well as economical. Here are the top ten factoids that emerged from my desk top this time around:

We waste enough Sporks to circle the Earth, and then some.
Talk about a big table setting. According to the Clean Air Council, enough plastic eating utensils are thrown away every year to circle the equator 300 times. That’s about 40 billion pounds of plastic knives, forks, and spoons, the vast majority of which end up in landfills where scientists say they’ll take 500 years – give or take a couple centuries – to decompose.

crushed soda can

Airlines waste enough soda cans to build dozens of planes.
Coffee, tea… or a new plane? The U.S. airline industry has been encountering some turbulence over its reluctance to institute recycling programs for trash generated onboard. But here’s a fact from the Natural Resource Defense Council that should grab the industry by its profit-centers and force it to take action: U.S. airlines throw away enough aluminum cans every year to build 57 new 747s.

Related: The 13 Coolest Things Made from Recycled Bottles article feed


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