‘FUN’ facts about recycling:
In 2006, according to the EPA, every American generated about 4.6 pounds of waste daily and recycled approximately one third of it (roughly 1.5 pounds).
The rate of composting and recycling in the United States rose from 7.7 percent of the waste stream in 1960 to 17 percent in 1990. Today, Americans recycle around 33 percent of their waste.
In 2007, the amount of energy saved from recycling aluminum and steel cans, plastic PET and glass containers, newsprint and corrugated packaging was equivalent to:
- The amount of electricity consumed by 17.8 million Americans in one year.
- 29 percent of nuclear electricity generation in the U.S. in one year.
- 7.9 percent of U.S. electricity generation from fossil fuels in one year.
- 11 percent of the energy produced by coal-fired power plants in the United States
- The energy supplied from 2.7 percent of imported barrels of crude oil into the United States
- The amount of gasoline used in almost 11 million passenger automobiles in one year.
Despite that progress, however, much more needs to be done because the stakes are very high.
Benefits of Recycling
Recycling helps to conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. According to the EPA, recycling one ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline.
If a ton of cans is a little too much to visualize, consider this: recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours. Yet, every three months, Americans toss enough aluminum into landfills to rebuild the entire U.S. fleet of commercial airplanes, according to the National Recycling Coalition.
Using recycled materials also saves energy and reduces global warming. For example, using recycled glass consumes 40 percent less energy than using new materials. Americans also contribute to recycling by purchasing products with recycled content, less packaging and fewer harmful materials.
Learn How Recycling Helps the Economy
Recycling also reduces costs to businesses and creates jobs. The American recycling and reuse industry is a $200 billion dollar enterprise that includes more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments, employs more than 1 million people, and generates an annual payroll of approximately $37 billion.