The European Space Agency estimates that there are more than 600,000 trash objects larger than one centimeter in diameter floating in space. A golf ball is still floating somewhere in space after it was hit from the international space station by Michail Tjurin, a Russian astronaut, as part of an advertisement for a Canadian sports company in 2006. Several astronauts have lost their gloves during space walks. Other Items lost by other astronauts during their time in space also reportedly include a camera, wrench, screwdriver, nuts and bolts, cloths, glue guns and a robotic arm. More than half of the 6,000 man-made satellites put into orbit are still out there.
Other stats about the trash we make here on Earth:
- Americans buy 2.3 million pairs of shoes a day – enough to cover the bottom of a 17-acre closet with shoe boxes.
- An average child will use between 8 -10,000 disposable diapers ($2,000 worth) before being potty trained. Each year parents and babysitters dispose of about 18 billion of these items. In the United States alone these single-use items consume nearly 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp. We will pay an average of $350 million annually to deal with their disposal. Plastic does not biodegrade; these diapers will still be in the landfill 300 years from now.
- If more people became environmental shoppers, the amount of trash could be reduced by as much as 45 percent.
- We throw away more than 60 million plastic bottles a day.
- Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
- In America, 1,500 aluminum cans are recycled every second.
- Recycling an aluminum soda can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.
- Throwing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as if that can were 1/2 full of gasoline.
- The average American uses 650 pounds of paper a year.
- Each year we trash enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City.
- One ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7000 gallons of water, 4200 kilowatt hours (enough to heat your home for half year), 390 gallons of oil, and prevents 60 pounds of air pollutants.
- Americans toss out enough paper & plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.
- The average American office worker goes through around 500 disposable cups every year.
- That styrofoam cup that you drank your coffee out of this morning will still be in the landfill 500 years from now.