Facts and Figures

Paper Recycling

  • The manufacture of recycled paper requires 7,000 less gallons of water per ton compared to non-recycled paper.
  • Recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of one 40-foot fir tree.
  • The United States throws away enough office and writing paper annually to build a 12 foot wall across the country
  • Americans throw away more than 600 pounds of paper products per person per year.
  • Paper is recycled into new products such as tar paper, asphalt shingles, cereal boxes, and of course, new paper.
  • Energy saved: Each ton of recycled paper produced requires 4,102 kwh less energy than virgin paper

Recycling one ton of paper saves:

  • 17 mature trees
  • 3.3 cubic yards (2.5 cubic meters) of landfill space
  • 7000 gallons (27,000 liters) of water
  • 380 gallons (1440 liters) of oil
  • 4100 kilowatt hours (14,700 megajoules) of energy
  • 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of pollutants

Glass Recycling

  • Every glass bottle recycled saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours.
  • Melting used glass saves 35 percent of the energy required to make glass from raw materials.

Plastic Reycling

  • Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour!
  • The average American car contains 300 pounds of plastic made from about 60 different resins.
  • Every year, we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas. 10% of the average grocery bill pays for product packaging (mostly paper and plastics). That's more than what goes to farmers.
  • Products made from recovered plastic bottles include drainage pipes, toys, carpet, filler for pillows and sleeping bags and cassette casings.
  • PET bottles (soda, water) and HDPE bottles (milk, laundry detergent) are by far the most commonly collected plastic materials in community recycling programs.
  • 10% of all households have the ability to recycle all types of plastic bottles in their community.
  • 63% of U.S. communities have access to a recycling program that collects plastic.

Tin/Steel Recycling

  • Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone
  • Steel is one of the world's most recycled products. In fact, steel is 100% recyclable, which means its lifecycle is potentially continuous
  • Making steel from recycled cans uses 75% less energy than when producing steel from raw materials.

Aluminum Recycling

  • Making cans from recycled aluminum saves 95% of the energy required to produce cans from virgin material.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a television, or operate a computer for three hours.
  • 99% of all beer cans and 97% of all soft drink cans are made of aluminum.
  • The average aluminum can in the U.S. contains 40% post-consumer recycled aluminum.
  • It requires only 5% of the energy needed to make a can of recycled aluminum as compared to virgin ore.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire U.S. commercial air fleet every 3 months.
  • In 1994, 3.1 million tons of aluminum waste was generated. 2.1 million tons came from soft drink and beer cans.
  • Aluminum made up 1.5% of the total municipal solid waste stream generated in the U.S. in 1994.
  • Approximately 65.5% of aluminum containers are recycled in the U.S.
  • Most aluminum recovered from the waste stream is used to manufacture new cans.
  • The lifespan of an aluminum can is about six weeks. That means it takes only six weeks for a beverage can to be manufactured, filled, sold, used, recycled and remanufactured.
  • Recycling aluminum cans saves 95 percent of the energy required to produce aluminum from ore.