11 Facts about Recycling
- The average American used 650 pounds of paper each year - 100 million tons of wood could be saved each year if all that paper was recycled.
- About 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is only 28%.
- Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
- Every month Americans throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper (think: Empire State Building), but all of these jars are recyclable!
- Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures a year! Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It's twice the size of Texas and is floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. It's also 80 percent plastic, and weighs in at 3.5 million tons.
- Recycling one ton (about 2,000 pounds) of paper saves 17 trees, two barrels of oil (enough to run the average car for 1,260 miles), 4,100 kilowatts of energy (enough power for the average home for six months), 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space, and 60 pounds of pollution.
- The 17 trees saved by recycling one ton of paper can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air each year.
- If all of our newspapers were recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year! If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we could save about 25 million trees each year.
- More than 20 million Hershey's Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of aluminum foil. Believe it not, ALL that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it so most it goes in the trash!
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours. In spite of this, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every three months!
- A typical family consumes 182 gallons of soda, 29 gallons of juice, 104 gallons of milk, and 26 gallons of bottled water a year. That's a lot of containers that can all be recycled!
Terms You Should Know About Recycling
Able to break down or decompose rapidly under natural conditions and processes.
Locations where consumers can drop off recyclables and receive payment for them.
Nature's way of recycling, and refers to a solid waste management technique that uses natural processes to convert organic materials to humus through the action of microorganisms. Compost is a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land.
The wise use of natural resources (nutrients, minerals, water, plants, animals, etc.) and planned action or non-action, to preserve or protect living and non-living resources.
Any item or material that reduces the quality of paper for recycling or makes it unrecyclable, such as metal, foil, glass, plastic, stickies, food, hazardous waste, carbon paper, waxed boxes, and synthetic fabrics. Collecting paper co-mingled with other recyclables may increase contaminants.
The branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment, including other organisms.
All of the biotic and abiotic factors that act on an organism, population, or ecological community and influence its survival and development. Biotic factors include the organisms themselves, their food, and their interactions. Abiotic factors include such items as sunlight, soil, air, water, climate, and pollution.
The stable, long lasting organic material resulting from decomposition of plant or animal matter which forms the organic portion of the soil.
A disposal site where solid waste, such as paper, glass, and metal, is buried between layers of dirt and other materials in such a way as to reduce contamination of the surrounding land. Modern landfills are often lined with layers of absorbent material and sheets of plastic to keep pollutants from leaking into the soil and water, which is also called sanitary landfill.
Minimum Recycled Content Laws
Laws requiring a product or type of packaging to contain a certain percentage of recycled material.
Post Consumer Material
Any household or commercial product which has served its original, intended use.
The portion of a product or package that contains materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the solid waste stream either during the manufacturing process or after consumer use. Many paper products are made with 100% recycled content.
Term used to describe a series of activities that includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers, and manufacturing the raw materials into new products.
Environmental sustainability is the ability to maintain the qualities that are valued in the physical environment.
The Three "R"s:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle