Earth Day (initially celebrated on March 21) was conceived during a UNESCO conference in San Francisco back in 1969 — an appropriate legacy from the era of flower children. Just two years later these peace-loving, shaggy-haired kids would be joining hands on a hilltop and singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.” Who could have imagined that “keeping a can a Coke company” would be so fleeting. Soon after, this same generation, due to the accelerated growth of the soft drink industry, would leave the hilltops, the roadways, the city streets, the town squares — just about any public space around the world — littered with Coke cans.
Earth Day observance jumped from a local event to a national level when Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin), in response to a devastating oil spill in the Pacific Ocean in 1969, championed Earth Day (a national environmental teach-in) to be held on April 22 to draw awareness to the planet’s health. Earth Day quickly spread from the U.S. to the entire globe and now includes over 175 participating countries continuing the race between recycling and unabated consumerism.
In honor of Earth Day, we examine some interesting facts about recycling and Mother Earth:
Recycling in the U.S.
First recycling program: New York, 1890 George Waring Jr. was street cleaning commissioner and built first municipal facility to separate, reuse, and resell different kinds of garbage.
Number of cans made each year: 131 billion (in more than 600 sizes)
Number of cans recycled each year: 74 billion
Amount paid by industry to recyclers: $800 million per year
First canned soft drink: Cliquot Club ginger ale (1938)
First canned beer: Kreuger Beer (1935)
First canned 12-pack: Pepsi-Cola (1972)
Weight of first aluminum can: 3 oz.(1972)
Weight of modern aluminum can: .5 oz
Recycling kisses: each day, 20 million Hershey kisses are wrapped in aluminum foil (133 square miles). Unfortunately most of that foil is not recycled.
Paper usage: average person uses 650 pounds of paper each year
Plastic bottle usage: average consumer uses 2.5 million plastic bottles per hour
Recycling rate: 80% of what consumers throw away is recyclable; however recycling rate is only 28%
The planet Earth
Name: Derived from Anglo Saxon word, Erda, meaning soil (all other planets are derived from the names of Roman or Greek gods)
Age of Earth: About 4.5 billion years old
Shape: Geoid (rounded shape with a slight bulge near the equator)
Orbit velocity: 66,622 mph
Circumference: 24,873 miles
Surface Area: 196.9 million square mile (70% covered by water)
Population today: 7,035,506,050
Annual birth rate: 134 million (about 36,700 per day)
Annual death rate: 62 million (about 170,000 per day)
Hottest place on earth:
El Azizia, Libya: 136 degrees F.
Second place: Death Valley in the Mojave desert in North America: 134 degrees F.
Coldest place on earth:
Vinson Massif, Antarctica: -128.6 degees F.
Mount Everest, Nepal: 29,029 feet
Dead Sea shore, Israeil-Jordan: -1,391 feet
Deepest point in ocean:
Mariana Trench (SW of Guam) in Pacific Ocean: 35,800 feet
Pressure: 15,750 pounds per square inch
Deepest cave on earth:
Krubera-Voronja Cave, Abkhazia, Georgia: 7,188 feet
For further reading: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Earth&Display=Facts&System=Metric. http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/offbeat-news/10-deepest-caves-in-the-world/1185?image=10. http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/.
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/photos/7-interesting-bits-of-environmental-trivia/citywide-recycl. http://www.cancentral.com/recfaq.cfm. ttp://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-recycling