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Recycling Fast Facts

It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials. Making recycled steel saves 60%, recycled newspaper 40%, recycled plastics 70%, and recycled glass 40%. These savings far outweigh the energy created as by-products of incineration and landfilling.

Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled is the equivalent of 12 trees. Every ton of office paper recycled is the equivalent of 24 trees!

Source: www.nrdc.org

Aluminum

  • Recycling aluminum uses less than 5 percent of the energy used to make the original product.
  • Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for three hours, or a TV for two hours.
  • Recycling 10 tons of aluminum prevents the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as preserving more than 1.1 acres of forest from deforestation.
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds as much energy as manufacturing it from new raw materials.
  • Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down in a landfill.
  • Five 2-liter recycled PET bottles produce enough fiberfill to make a ski jacket.
  • The energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes.
  • Recycling 10 tons of PET plastic prevents the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as removing more than three cars from the road for one year.

Glass

  • Producing glass from crushed, used glass requires 30 percent less energy than producing it from new materials.
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
  • It takes a glass bottle approximately one million years to break down in a landfill.
  • The greenhouse gas emission reductions from recycling 10 tons of glass are comparable to preventing the use of more than eight barrels of crude oil.

Steel

  • Tin cans contain 99 percent steel.
  • Recycling steel and tin cans saves 60 - 74 percent of the energy used to produce them from raw materials.
  • According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel recycling in the United States saves the amount of energy required to power about one-fifth of American households for one year.
  • One ton of recycled steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil and 1.5 tons of iron ore over the production of new steel.
  • Recycling 10 tons of steel prevents the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as growing 470 tree seedlings for 10 years.

Paper

  • Paper can account for as much as 60 percent of school waste.
  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
  • Manufacturing one ton of office paper with recycled paper stock can save between 3,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours over the same ton made with virgin wood products.
  • Preventing one ton of paper waste saves between 15 and 17 mature trees.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to heat an average home for six months.
  • The greenhouse gas emission reductions from recycling 10 tons of mixed paper are comparable to preventing the use of 94 barrels of crude oil.

Electronics

  • Each year, more than 350 million inkjet and laser cartridges are thrown away.
  • Each year, 35 million cell phones are disposed of. 

Source: National Wildlife Federation, www.nwf.org