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I have had a strange fascination with aluminum lately, so why not talk about it here. Aluminum, a silvery white and ductile member of the boron group of chemical elements. It’s nonmagnetic and non-sparking. It has the symbol Al; its atomic number is 13 (I did not know that till today. 13 is the day I was born and my lucky number.).  Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element therein, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. Aluminum is too reactive chemically to occur in nature as the free metal. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals. The chief source of aluminum is bauxite ore.

Aluminum is remarkable for its ability to resist corrosion (due to the phenomenon of passivation) and its low density. Aluminum is one of the few metals that retain full silvery reflectance in finely powdered form. Global production of aluminum in 2005 was 31.9 million tonnes. It exceeded that of any other metal except iron (837.5 million tonnes).

* Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.

* 350,000 aluminum cans are produced every minute!

* More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product.

* Once an aluminum can is recycled, it can be part of a new can within six weeks.

* Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.

* During the time it takes you to read this sentence, 50,000 12-ounce aluminum cans are made.

* An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!

* There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can can be recycled.

* Aluminum can manufacturers have been making cans lighter — in 1972 each pound of aluminum produced 22 cans; today it yields 29 cans.

* We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum pop cans every year.

* At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold! (Before the Hall-Héroult process was developed, aluminum was exceedingly difficult to extract from its various ores. This made pure aluminum more valuable than gold. Bars of aluminum were exhibited alongside the French crown jewels at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, and Napoleon III was said to have reserved a set of aluminum dinner plates for his most honored guests. [source:Wikipedia])

[Source: Recycling Fun Facts]

Aluminum never dies!!!

-Cara

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I collected some stats on drink consumption from, The Good Stuff guide, produced in 2004 by the Worldwatch Institute that I thought might be of interest to people.

  • People in the U.S. consume more packaged drinks per capita than in any other country—about 350 aluminum cans per person per year, compared to 103 in Sweden, 88 in the United Kingdom, and 14 in France. [Go France!]
  • Making 1 million tons of aluminum cans from virgin materials requires 5 million tons of bauxite ore and the energy equivalent of 32 million barrels of crude oil. Recycling the cans, in comparison, saves all of the bauxite and more than 75 percent of the energy, and avoids about 75 percent of the pollutants.
  • Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a laptop computer for 4 hours.
  • Making 1 million tons of plastic bottles from virgin materials (petroleum and other fossil fuels) generates an estimated 732,000 tons of climate-altering greenhouse gases.

Again I say, that’s crazy!

Eco-Cycle Media did a piece called, Zero Waste Systems that gives you an idea of how messed up our production/consumption/recycling system is right now. Then they wrap it up with some simple solutions you can do to reverse this doomed process.

Zero Waste!

-Cara

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Reason 75 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Okinawa has the healthiest and longest-lived people in the world, boasting the highest percentage of people who live to be a hundred years old. The super-seniors who inhabit the island tend to retain their mental keenness, and few need to live in nursing homes. Not surprisingly, they eat very little food of animal origin, according to a 25-year study on the island. Genes could take some of the credit, although today’s old folks are projected to outlive their children who have adopted Western eating habits.

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