Mummy, I recycled my can: may I watch 3 hours of TV now?

October 5, 2007 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Aluminium, Aluminum, Cans, Carbon emissions, Carbon reductions, Children, CO2 emissions, Eden Project, Energy usage, Environment, Facts, Kids, Metals, Recycling, Students, Tins | 5 Comments

On a walk into town we saw two metal sculptures of red and white rhinoceroses in our local shoe shop. They are made out of recycled Coca-Cola cans.

Rhinoceros in shoe shop, made from recycled aluminium Coca-Cola cans

IUCN Status of three of five rhino species is Critically Threatened, the final step before Extinct in the Wild

Here’s a photo I took at The Eden Project that shows another creative way of presenting recycled aluminium drinks cans. These are cola plants—relics of a time before some people considered the environmental impact of simply tossing cans out of car windows -(

Cola plants at The Eden Project, Cornwall, UK

Anyway, walking round town, you-know-who suddenly had a brainwave: he remembered hearing on LiveEarth that recycling an aluminium can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours. So we walked and talked about recycling different types of metal. Curiously, he wanted to know how much energy was saved by recycling an ounce of gold. (At this point, I have no idea, but I have seen eco-wedding rings advertised that do just that.)

I promised to check the aluminium facts, and found them straightaway at Recycle Now – Stats and Facts. Here’s the relevant excerpt for us, and there are loads of other useful tips and tidbits for school projects and general interest on that recommended RecycleNow site.

Metal Recycling


  • If all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 14 million fewer full dustbins per year (source:
  • If all of the aluminium cans recycled in the UK in 1998 were laid end to end, they would stretch from Land’s End to John O’Groats more than 160 times (source:
  • In the UK, 75% of all drinks cans are made of aluminium. (source: Waste Watch)
  • It’s better news in industry – larger aluminium products, used in buildings and vehicles for example, have a 95% recycling rate. That’s simply because they’re more valuable. (source: Aluminium Federation Ltd Fact Sheet 11 – Aluminium Recycling)
  • Amazingly, recycling it requires only 5% of the energy it takes to make new aluminium – and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions. (source:
  • Just one recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television set for three hours! (source:


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  1. recycleingh is not very good i dont like do in it personaly

  2. Dear james,
    Thanks for your comment. I can understand that you do not like recycling if someone forces you to do it. My kids enjoy crunching cans and squashing plastic bottles, so they are quite happy.
    Recycling is good for the world, even if you don’t like doing it.

  3. Groovey!!!

  4. Those are great ideas for using up aluminum cans! I try to recycle everything. Newspapers, plastic bottles, cans. If everyone does a little, then it can make a difference.

  5. Dear carrie,
    Good for you! Yes, every little helps.
    However, it is particularly important for those people who are in positions to make a HUGE difference with big-ticket items to go ahead and do so.

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