Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Some recycled facts

A few interesting (mainly American) recycling facts to digest with your morning snack:
  • The US is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.
  • About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material. Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.
  • On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.
  • The US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.
  • The US uses over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
  • 95% less energy is used to make new aluminum cans out of old ones. Throwing away a single aluminum can is like pouring out six ounces of gasoline.
  • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the US, and the most efficiently recycled (a recycled aluminum can can be part of a new can within six weeks)
  • A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel.
  • In one year in the US, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes.
  • A single run of the Sunday New York Times uses 75,000 trees.
  • If all American newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year.
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the US.
  • The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.
  • Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution!
  • American throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2,5000,000 plastic beverage bottles every HOUR!
  • A 33% energy reduction is achieved when new products are made from recycled plastics.
  • The energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle can power a computer for 25 minutes.
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution, 50% less water pollution and 30% less energy than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
  • A modern glass bottle would take 4,000 years or more to decompose - even longer if it's in a landfill. Plastic beverage bottles can take 450 years, aluminum cans 80-200 years, and plastic bags 10-20 years.
These stats are mainly from the Recycling Revolution website (which in turn uses various sources including the National Recycling Coalition, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Earth911.org), the Real Simple website and the City of Toronto website, and I bring them to you apropos of absolutely nothing.

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