Finish line for Tea Light Hunt: Aluminium recycling a hit with kids

Schoolchildren throughout Norway have delivered 11 million used aluminium tea light cups in a nationwide recycling campaign.

March 30, 2012

WWF and IKEA, in cooperation with Hydro, invited students from first to fourth grade across the country to gather the greatest number of the aluminium tea light cups.

The campaign started in October 2011 and ends Saturday, March 31. The results are impressive.

“The level of environmental engagement among the students has surpassed all of our expectations,” Nina Jensen, the secretary general of WWF in Norway.

More than 23,000 students representing 1,212 classes have collected – and counted – 11 million used tea light cups.

Adds Nina Schefte, head of sustainability for IKEA in Norway: “Every week we hear from teachers who tell us about their students’ environmental engagement and spirit.”

The group that manages to collect the greatest number of cups wins a class trip to Hydro’s aluminium plant in Holmestrand to learn more about recycling. There they will be met by Hydro President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg.
“It’s impressive to see their enormous engagement for aluminium and recycling. I’m really looking forward to showing the winning class how recycling works,” Brandtzæg says.

Aluminium can be recycled again and again without losing its qualities of strength, light weight and formability. It is estimated that 75 percent of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today. In addition, making aluminium from used metal requires just 5 percent of the energy used to make it the first time around.

“The Tea Light campaign shows how CO2 emissions can be cut through recycling and how resources can be reused,” says the WWF’s Nina Jensen.

“At the same time, we increase knowledge about the environment and natural resources and bring into focus the value of aluminium as a recyclable resource. Very few Norwegians knew that used tea light cups can be returned to recycling stations around the country.”

‘Forever young’

In fact, a nationwide survey by YouGov opinion researchers before the campaign showed that 72 percent of the respondents threw away used aluminium tea light cups, so further progress can be made. Each year around 200 million tea lights are sold Norway. If seven of ten wind up in the bin, that means 140 million cups miss the chance at “life forever after” – and the chance to make use of the energy stored in the aluminium.


Updated: September 12, 2016