From left to right: Boy facing right holding clear bag of plastics, girl kneeling facing down at blue recycling bin, boy holding paper bags behind shoulder looking just behind the camera, boy facing right holding a clear bag of plastics and boy facing right holding flattened cardboard boxes.

Kids recycling garbage ()

Recycling is a great way to help save the planet, but it can be complicated sometimes. In Germany, we have yellow bags for plastic, blue bags for paper and cardboard, green bags for compost and clear bags for glass. That’s a lot of sorting. Here are some fast facts about recycling you may not know.

  • Composting is the breaking down of organic materials (like banana peels and egg shells) to make soil.

  • Over 111,000,000 aluminum cans were recycled in 2023. “Recycling just one aluminum saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours and a TV for 2 hours,” according to This World Counts. That’s a lot of Netflix.

  • Recycling is taking trash and turning it into new things for us to use.

  • It requires 70 percent less energy to recycle paper than to make it from new materials.

  • All types of plastic are recyclable in the U.K., according to Entire Recycling.

  • Recyclate is the term given to the items sent to the recycling center to be recycled in Scotland.

  • It takes 88 percent less energy to make plastic from recycled plastic than from new materials.

  • You can even recycle clothes! Textile banking/recycling is reusing, repurposing, or re-making clothes, fabrics and yarns.

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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