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Recycling Basics

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Look to this helpful infographic when deciding what to throw away, and what to recycle.

Recycling Go to Guide 

Plastic waste is becoming more and more of a problem for the health of humans, animals and sea creatures. Between litter, and mismanaged waste that ends up in landfills and our ocean, the number of plastic products taking up space and effecting life of our animals and sea creatures is detrimental. the number of landfills that are in operation today has decreased in number -

in 1978 : 14,000 

in 1988 : 7,924

in 2001 : 7, 858

in 2006 : 7,754

By recycling, and knowing how to PROPERLY recycle, you can help put plastic and aluminum in its RIGHT place! 

Some Recycling Facts:

  • Recycling one ton of newspaper saves 15 trees

  • The average American throws away about 3.5 pounds of trash per day

  • In 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material - a 34.3% recycling rate (EPA.gov)

Plastic Facts:

  • Five plastic bottles (PETE #1) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square feet of carpet or enough fiber to fill one ski jacket

  • 85% of total global plastic used is not recycled (plasticdisclosure.org)

  • Plastics negatively impacts over 700 species of animals and birds

  • Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to degrade in landfill

  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth 4 times

  • Americans throw away about 35 billion plastic bottles each year

  • Only about 25% of the plastic produced by the U.S. is recycled

    • If we recycled the other 75% of plastic, we could save 1 billion gallons of oil, and 44 million cubic yards of landfill space annually. 

  • By using reusable drink containers, an average person can eliminate the need for 100 disposable bottles per year

  • One ton of recycled plastic saves:

    •  5,774 kWh of elecetricity.

    •  685 gallons of oil.

    •  98 million Btu’s of energy.

    •  30 cubic yards of landfill space.

    Aluminum Facts:

    • It takes 200-500 years for aluminum to fully degrade in landfill

    • Recycling aluminum takes 95% less energy than making aluminum from raw materials

    • Recycling one aluminum can can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours

    • There is no limit to the number of times aluminum cans can be recycled

    • Recycled aluminum can be returned to shelves in as little as 60 days

    • About 120,000 aluminum cans are recycled every minute nationwide. 

    • Every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum in ladnfills to build our nations entire commercial air fleet

    • It requires 95% less energy and water to recycle a can than it does to crate a can from virgin materials

    Glass Facts:

    • Glass takes 1,000,000 years to fully degrade in a landfill

    • Glass can be recycled an infinite amount of times and be re-manufactured over and over again without wearing out.

    • Water pollution is cut by 50% when making glass from recycled material

    • More than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in landfills every year - that is the equivalent of filling up two Empire State Buildings every three weeks. 

    Cardboard & Paper Facts:

    • Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil

    • Recycling cardboard only takes 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard. 

    • Americans throw away 4.5 million tons of office paper each year

    • One ton of recycled paper saves:

      • 4,100 kWh of electricity.

      • 380 gallons of oil.

      • 54 million Btu’s of energy.

      • 4.6 cubic yards of landfill space.

      • 7,000 gallons of water. • 17 trees

    • Cardboard and paper waste makes up 41% of the municipal solid waste stream

    • One ton of recycled cardboard saves:

      • 390 kWh hours of electricity.

      • 46 gallons of oil.

      • 6.6 million Btu’s of energy.

      • 9 cubic yards of landfill space.

    Food Waste:

    • Food waste can be used for composting and sold to farmers or it can be provided as a food source for local animal farms that  meet federal, state, and local regulations for food scrap usage. 

    • Almost half the food in the U.S. goes to waste which is approximately 3,000 pounds per second

    • Reducing food waste & diverting it from landfill can be easy! Got a green waste organics bin? Or an outdoor compost pile? Grab a counter top compost bin & start diverting food waste today! 

    eWaste (electronic waste):

    • In 2007, 82% equaling 1.8 million tons of ewaste such as cell phones, tv's, computers, printers, etc, ended up in landfills

    Facts found at cap.utah.edu and recyclingacrossamerica.org

     

    Why recycle?

    The short lists includes:

    • It saves money

    • It improves efficiency 

    • It reduces energy use

    • It reduces fuel use

    • It saves landfill space

    • It improves air quality

    • It improves water quality 

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    • Gabriella De Luca