“That thing must weigh a ton!” 

We’re usually pretty sure that “it” doesn’t weigh anywhere near a ton. It’s just something we say.  But when our little newspaper reported that 44 tons…..yes, 44 TONS….of trash were hauled away from our beaches after the Fourth of July weekend, I decided to get a better idea of what a “ton” really looks like.

A ton is 2000 pounds.  So 44 times 2000 times is 88,000 pounds. That’s beyond my ability to fully grasp.  So, I brought it down to single tons and tried to imagine 44 of whatever that might be.

10 adult men add up to about one ton.  That means we’d need 440 men to get to 44 tons.  A movie theater holds about 200 so we’d need two movie theaters packed full of adult men.

An average car weighs in at about a ton and a half.   30 cars gets us to the magic number.  Lined up, nose to tail, they’d take up about 600 feet. Or about the length of two city blocks.

A healthy elephant usually weighs about 4 or 5 tons.    We’d only need nine or so adult elephants to get to 44 tons.  Elephants are big!  And heavy. And we do so love them.

But since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I’d find out what one ton of trash looks like.   It looks like this:

This is a picture of exactly one ton of trash, minus one pound. The trash collection company did it to see what it it would look like. We can now assuredly say: ” That thing must weigh a ton. ” Now multiply by 44 to picture what had to be cleaned up from our beautiful beaches after just one weekend.


Truck hauling one ton of roadside trash courtesy of Simpsonville.com