Interesting Facts that Make You Think:"Why Doesn't Everyone Recycle?"
The average waste produce in the United States is roughly 4.4 pounds per person per day. In a year, that's over 1,600 pounds of waste produced, which contributes to the United State's annual total of approximately 250 million tons of garbage a year of which 73% goes to the landfill. On an average 10% of the waste generated is recycled. Our national image of plentiful resources, energy, and waste created the belief that waste should be dealt with only after it had been created through landfilling. This is a very expensive, inefficient approach to waste.
Resources Saved by Recycling 1 Ton of Plastics
an amount of energy equal to 1-2,000 gallons of gasoline
Resources Saved by Recycling
1 Ton of Newspaper
saves 17 trees & an amount of energy equal to
100 gallons of gasoline
If Americans would simply recycle their paper, and use recycled paper, we could cut our municipal waste by 50%. We could save most of the water, energy, air pollution, and all the billions of trees that go into making paper out of forests. Recycling paper creates five times more jobs and it even saves money.
Making recycled paper uses 30% to 55% less energy than making paper from trees.
If you recycle a foot-tall stack of newspapers, you save enough energy to take a hot shower every day for a week.
Other benefits of recycling: 95% less air pollution and one tree saved for every 150 pounds of paper you recycle.
Americans already recycle 24 millions tons of paper a year, 29% of the paper we use. But there's room to improve. More than 50 million tons worth of room.
For every household that recycles its daily newspaper, 5 trees are spared every year.
Today, more than 50% of the printing and writing paper made in this country still uses virgin timber fiber. The United States makes and uses more than 80 million tons of paper every year, but less than a third of that is from recycled sources.
Recycled Content Paper
Items made from recycled paper
Resources Saved by Recycling
1 Ton of Iron
an amount of energy equal to
1 ton of coal
Recycling tin cans reduces energy use by 74%, air pollution by 85%, solid waste by 95%, and water pollution by 76% compared to wasting them. Americans only recycle 5% of their tin cans.
Items made from recycled steel
Over the past 30 years, the waste produced in the United States has almost tripled, from 88 million tons in 1960 to about 250 million tons in 2011. Some of this increase is linked to U.S. population growth. Lifestyles have changed, too. People are buying more convenience items, more disposables, and they choose from a wider variety of products.
38.1% of waste is from household paper. If households were to compost food and yard waste, along with recycling paper, plastics, and glass there would be a 77% decrease in municipal solid waste. By weight, paper accounts for 36% & plastics account for 11% of waste in landfills.
Negative effects of landfilling include:
Theodore Roosevelt said when addressing Congress in 1907
"To waste, to destroy, to waste our land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them."
Using recycled materials versus raw materials saves the economy about $15 billion in energy fee and another $15 billion by reducing the municipal solid waste of the United States. (EPA)
When a pound of municipal material is recycled, industry avoids wasting many more pounds of mining and manufacturing wastes caused by extracting and processing virgin materials into finished goods.
To create just 1 lb of consumer goods, manufacturers create 5 lb of waste. Almost everything that is thrown away could be recycled to save natural resources.
Many benefits are inherent in the process of reusing and recycling.
The world's resources depend on recycling for survival just as the world's people depend on the world's resources for their own survival. Nonrenewable resources must be conserved, and renewable resources need to be taken care of properly. It's wonderful that many people are recycling. But just recycling by itself isn't enough. We need to complete the cycle by using recycled products.