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20 Weird Things You Didn’t Know About Recycling

Posted on April 21st, 2008 by Corine in behind the scenes, earth day, environment, itunes, lonely planet, recycling 0 Comments

There’s no way we could let Earth Day go by without saying something of note – however – with the hundreds of thousands of articles, blogs and events already out in the e-sphere to commemorate the day, we didn’t feel like we had any new or unique content to contribute. We hope you’ll take the time to visit our Shop Green section and purchase something you need while at the same time acknowledging those retailers and products that are good for you and the planet as a whole.

In the meantime, I found this article written by Jocelyn Rice and Amber Fields in Discover Magazine called 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Recycling, which I found to be both strangely fascinating and just a little disturbing. I’m sharing it for just those reasons and hope you’ll forgive me if you find it a bit too weird for your tastes. This is a cleverly written piece and flows well, especially when read in order.

  1. Drink up: It takes three months for a recycled aluminum can to make it’s way back on the shelf in reincarnated form.
  2. Or build a bridge: In 2002 researchers from Rutgers University built a 42-foot-long bridge over a river using plastic beams made from polystyrene cups and polyethylene milk jugs.
  3. Or construct a boat: During World War 1, enough metal was salvaged from corset stays to build two warships.
  4. As of press time, the boat Earthrace was being prepared for an attempt to break the maritime around-the-world speed record. It will use biofuel, some of which comes from liposuctioned human fat.
  5. No fat here: During Britain’ 2007 Recycle Now week, svelte models strutted down Brighton beach wearing swimsuits made of steel cans.
  6. These boots were made for flooring: Nike gathers old athletic shoes and turns them into raw material for “sports surfaces” like tennis courts or running tracks.
  7. Meanwhile in China, more then 1 million unsold copies of British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams’s latest CD will be used to resurface roads.
  8. Last year Chinese hair salons caused a stir by unlawfully recycling used condoms, possibly donated by local nightclubs into hair ties.
  9. Elsewhere in Asia, an enterprising dental technician established the Japan Denture Recycle Association in 2006 to cash in on the precious metals in discarded choppers. Proceeds go to UNICEF.
  10. Each year Americans junk more than 80 million dollar’s worth of copper, gold, silver, palladium and platinum in the form of retired cell phones.
  11. Cell phones, laptops, and, um, personal massage devices: New British laws mandate that old electronic appliances-including sex toys-cannot be dumped. They must be recycled with other so-called e-waste.
  12. E-waste is for the birds: An Australian nut orchard converts the shells of vintage Macintosh computers into houses for pest-eating birds.
  13. Humans need house too: when Luiz Bispo built his house in Rio de Janeiro slum out of construction waste last year, city authorities threatened to destroy it. Now the house-which floats atop a junk-filled river on a base of plastic bottles-is being touted as an icon of sustainable development.
  14. Cities have long been goldmines for recyclers: Beginning in ancient times, tanners collected human urine to use in turning animal skins into leather.
  15. In the middle ages, urine was also used to make saltpeter, an essential component of gunpowder.
  16. Cities get recycled too: Masonry from Roman settlements made a handy source of stone for medieval church builders.
  17. But enough is enough: In 1821 Turkish soldiers surrounded Greek forces holed up in the Parthenon and started stripping lead from the temple columns to make bullets. The horrified Greeks promptly sent the enemy a fresh supply of ammunition to discourage further recycling.
  18. Using every part: There are now sheep-poo air fresheners. Sterilized sheep droppings are turned into packets stuffed with grass-or daffodil- scented material.
  19. Green to the end: The Doggone Project in Mannheim, Germany, can recycle deceased pets into fertilizer.
  20. You, too: Ecopods, a British company, sells stylish coffins made from hardened recycled paper, available in a range of colors including indigo and silver leaf.

Unofficial Earth Day Flag by John McConnell

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