Recycling and Why it Makes Sense

  • Did you know . . .

    • The energy used to produce one day's junk mail in America is enough to heat 250,000 homes.
    • Recycling a soda can saves 96% of the energy used to make one can from ore.
    • The average person generates 600 times their adult weight in garbage during their lifetime.
    • Americans go through 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour.
    • The plastic from five soda bottles can completely insulate a ski jacket.
    • Recycling one ton of paper waste saves between 15 and 17 mature trees.
    • One ton of recycled steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil and 1.49 tons of iron ore over the production of new steel.
    • Recycling one ton of material saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
    • Recycling one ton of glass saves the equivalent of nine gallons of oil.
    • In one week, Americans throw away enough cans and bottles to circle the earth four times.

    Facts about recycling:

    •  Trash by weight is 34.2% paper7.1% glass8.4% metal8.5% food waste9.1% plastic20% yard waste and 12.7% other trash.
    • Seventy-three percent of garbage is buried in landfills14% is burned in incinerators, and 13% is recycled.
    • The U.S., while having 5% of the world’s population, produces 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
    • One acre of trees can absorb the carbon dioxide produced by driving a car 26,000 miles.
    • Five recycled bottles make enough fiberfill to stuff one ski jacket.

    Rate of decomposition:

    Paper cup   5 years
    Foam cup   10-20 years
    Banana peel    1 week to six months  
    Cotton rag  1 to 5 months
    Tin can  100 years
    Plastic cup  50 – 80 years
    Aluminum can  100 – 500 years    
    Glass bottle  Indestructible
    Painted wooden board 13 years

    Recycling conserves landfill space.  Material is kept out of the waste stream and out of the landfill.

    • Recycling one ton of material saves three cubic yards of landfill space.
    • Forty-five percent of all landfill trash is a paper product.
    • Each person in the U.S. throws away 2.4 plastic bottles/day.
    • Yearly, we dispose of 24 million tons of leaves & grass clippings, which could be composted to conserve landfill space.
    • The amount of tires disposed of annually in the U.S. total 1.8 million tons.   

    Recycling conserves natural resources.  Wasting of our natural resources is reduced and our limited domestic supplies of certain raw materials are extended.

    • Recycling one ton of glass saves the equivalent of 9 gallons of oil.
    • Recycling one ton of newspaper saves 17 trees & uses 60% less water.
    • It takes 3,688 pounds of wood216 pounds of lime360 pounds of salt cake and 76 pounds of soda ash to makes 2000 pounds (one ton) of paper.
    • The Statue of Liberty was restored with recycled scrap metal.
    • In one week, Americans throw away enough cans and bottles to circle the earth four times!

    Recycling saves energy

    • Recycling aluminum cans requires 95% less energy than producing the cans from the raw bauxite ore.
    • Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce 1 can using the raw bauxite ore.
    • Recycling one ton of newspapers saves the same amount of energy contained in 100 gallons of gasoline.
    • Recycling one ton of newspaper uses 70% less energy than producing the same ton from virgin materials and saves the same amount ofelectricity used in a typical home in six months.
    • Recycling glass saves more than half the furnace energy needed to make glass from virgin materials and produces the same quality product.
    • Increasing steel recycling 50% would save the energy equivalent ofseven nuclear power plants.
    • Recycling helps preserve the quality of our air & water.  Using recycled materials over again creates less pollution than starting from scratch with virgin materials.
    • Recycling one ton of newspaper produces 50% fewer pollutants than making one ton from virgin materials.


    The information above was provided by Waste Management.