Recycling Facts

Interesting Recycling Facts / Paper

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4000 kilowatt hours of electricity.  This is enough energy to power the average American home for 5 months.
  • The process of recycling paper instead of making it from new materials generates 74 percent less air pollution and uses 50 percent less water.
  • Manufacturing recycled paper uses 60 percent of the energy needed to make paper from new materials.
  • Over 73 percent of all newspapers are recovered for recycling. About 33 percent of this is used to make newsprint the rest is used to make paperboard, tissue, or insulation.
  • A little more than 48 percent of all office paper is recycled. This is used to make writing papers, paperboard, tissue, and insulation.

Interesting Recycling Facts / Metal

  • Recycling steel and tin cans saves 74 percent of the energy used to make them.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • Americans throw out enough iron and steel to continuously supply all the auto makers in the entire nation.
  • A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces water pollution, air pollution, and mining waste by about 70 percent.
  • When you throw away an aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the can half full of gasoline and poured it into the ground.
  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans each day.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100 watt light bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, and a TV for 2 hours.

Interesting Recycling Facts / Plastic

  • Enough plastic is produced in the United States each year to shrink wrap Texas.
  • In 1998 Americans used 2 billion pounds of HDPE to make plastic bottles for household products. That’s the equivalent weight of 90,000 Honda civics.
  • Approximately 88 percent of the energy is saved when plastic is made from plastic rather than from the raw materials of gas and oil.
  • Enough plastic bottles are thrown away in the United States each year  to circle the Earth four times.

General Facts About Recycling

  • On average, 10-15% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as garbage.
  • Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled.
  • It costs about $30 per ton to recycle garbage, $50 to transport it to a landfill, and $70 to incinerate it.
  • Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs and $37 billion in annual payrolls.
  • The average household throws away 13,000 pieces of paper every year which is mostly junk mail and packaging.
  • In the United States landfills are responsible for approximately 36% of all methane emissions.  Methane is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide.
  • Yard trimmings make up 20% of the solid waste in US.  Less than one quarter of this amount is recovered for composting.
  • More than half of the MSW (municiple solid waste) that ends up in a landfill is highly recyclable material.