The Skinny on Recycling

Katie LaPotin, Seedlings Corp, October 11, 2011

There are a plethora of reasons why people do not recycle, including laziness, a lack of recycling facilities in one’s area, or that they just don’t believe recycling makes a difference. Yet recycling really does make a difference in helping save our environment, as the statistics below demonstrate. There are a plethora of reasons why people do not recycle, including laziness, a lack of recycling facilities in one’s area, or that they just don’t believe recycling makes a difference. Yet recycling really does make a difference in helping save our environment, as the statistics below demonstrate.

  • A plant takes a minimum of 15-20 years to grow into a tree, but takes less than 10 minutes to be felled. In addition, on average one tree can yield about 700 paper grocery bags, which will be consumed in less than an hour by a supermarket.
  • For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following are saved:
    • 17 trees
    • 275 pounds of sulfur
    • 350 pounds of limestone
    • 9,000 pounds of steam
    • 60,000 gallons of water
    • 225 kilowatt hours
    • 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • The average time taken by plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill is close to 700 years.
  • Used plastic dumped into the sea kills and destroys sea life at an estimated 1 million sea creatures per year.
  • Glass and plastic take the longest to decompose but are completely recyclable, therefore, it is important to purchase, recycle, and reuse both glass and plastic products.
  • A Styrofoam coffee cup discarded today will remain in landfill space for close to 500 years.
  • Aluminum cans can be recycled and reused within 60 days.
  • Recycling aluminum saves money, energy and manpower because preparing aluminum products from virgin metal consumes closes to 100 times the power required to recycle aluminum. If all aluminum produced is regularly recycled, the energy saved is enough to light up a medium-sized city for close to five years!
  • The United States is one of the world’s largest producers of trash. Trash is produced at an alarming rate of 1,609 pounds of trash per person, per year.
  • For every product purchased, nearly 10% of the finished product contains packing material which is normally dumped.
  • Nearly 60-70% of waste found in dustbins can be recycled and reused, and close to 50% of the same waste can be composted.
  • Recycling tin, glass, and plastic containers or bottles can conserve energy to power light bulbs for 3 to 4 hours.

If these numbers don’t make people want to recycle, I’m not totally sure what will!

For more recycling statistics and facts please visit:  http://tinyurl.com/42uabwu

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