Environmental Benefits of Recycling

Recycled vs. Virgin

Manufacturing recycled products requires, on average, 17 times less energy than manufacturing the same products from virgin materials.
      —National Recycling Coalition

Material

Energy
Savings

Environmental Impact

Natural Resource Savings

Miscellaneous
Info.

Aluminum

95% energy savings; recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours (Reynolds Metal Company)

Reduces pollution by 95%, (Reynolds Metal Co.)

4 lbs. of bauxite saved for every pound of aluminum recycled (Reynolds Metal Co.)

Enough aluminum is thrown away to rebuild our commercial air fleet 4 times every year

Glass

50% energy savings (Center for Ecological Technology); recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours (EPA)

20% less air pollution; 50% less water pollution (NASA)

1 ton of glass made from 50% recycled materials saves 250 lbs. of mining waste (EPA)

Glass can be reused an infinite number of times; over 41 billion glass containers are made each year (EPA)

Paper

60% energy savings (Center for Ecological Technology)

95% less air pollution; each ton saves 60 lbs. of air pollution (Center for Ecological Technology)

Recycling of one ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water (EPA)

Every year enough paper is thrown away to make a 12' wall from New York to California

Plastic

Plastic milk containers are now only half the weight that they were in 1960 (EPA)

 

If we recycled every plastic bottle we used, we would keep 2 billion tons of plastic out of landfills (Penn State)

We use enough plastic wrap all of Texas every year (EPA)

Steel
Steel

74% energy savings; every pound of steel recycled saves enough energy to light a 60-watt bulb for 24 hours (Penn State)

Every year we create 11.5 million tons of ferrous wastes (Steel Recycling Institute)

One ton of recycled steel saves 2,500 lbs. of ore, 1000 lbs. coal, and 40 lbs. limestone (Center for Ecological Technology)

Enough iron & steel is discarded in the US to continually supply the nation's automakers (Steel Recycling Institute)



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