Facts About Recycling
By Frank Girard, eHow Contributor
According to the Container Recycling Institute, over 148 trillion bottles and cans were placed in landfills, incinerated or littered during the first eight months of 2009. Non-biodegradable plastics can take hundreds of years to degrade. According to the Oberlin College Recycling Program, the U.S. population nearly doubled between 1950 and 2000, creating increased waste. The snowballing population of the planet means an increased recycling demand.
More than half of all paper waste is recycled in the United States.
Each person in the United States uses the equivalent of a 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper products each year, according to the Oberlin College Recycling Program. In 2007, over 56 percent of paper waste was recovered and eventually recycled. The Paper Industry Association Council estimates that 57.4 percent of paper was recovered in 2008, which is the equivalent of 340 pounds of paper for each person in the United States.
Half of aluminum cans are made from recycled aluminum.
More than half of new aluminum cans are made from recycled material. According to the Oberlin College Recycling Program, 36 billion aluminum cans were placed in landfills in 2007. Those cans had a scrap value worth $600 million.
25 billion plastic bottles are used each year in America.
Enough plastic film is made each year to shrink wrap the state of Texas, according to the Oberlin College Recycling Program. People in the United States use 25 billion plastic bottles every year. If each household in the country recycled 10 percent of its plastic bottles, 200 million pounds of plastic would be saved each year.
We will never run out of glass, because it can be recycled over and over.
According to DoSomething.org, people in the United States throw away enough plastic bottles each month to fill up a skyscraper the size of the Empire State Building. The Oberlin College Recycling Program estimates that states with bottle deposit laws have 35 to 40 percent less litter than states that do not. Glass is made from sand, which means it can be recycled forever.
Recycling steel can save electricity.
People in the United States use enough tin cans and steel to make a steel pipe that would be long enough to run from New York to Los Angeles and back, according to the Oberlin College Recycling Program. If 10 percent of the cans that were thrown away were recycled each year, 3.2 billion cans would be saved each year. On average, each American throws out 61 pounds of tin cans each month. The Illinois Recycling Association suggests that using recycled materials reduces pollution levels of 27 different pollutants.
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