Do These Facts Suggest Recycling is a Waste of Time?
Plus, 20 Things That do NOT Belong in Your Recycle Bin
Does recycling pay off for the planet, or is it a waste of time? The facts may surprise you.
Want to use this infographic on your site? Just use the code below!
Did you know, that 262 million tons of trash are produced each year by people in the United States. That is a whopping 4.48 pounds per person, per day!
By contrast, a mere 67 million tons of trash are recycled. That is only one and a half pounds per person per day. So it begs the question, why is the amount of garbage we trash vs recycle so skewed?
Advantages of Recycling
There are plenty of good reasons to recycle items instead of trashing them. First, recycling uses less energy than making something new. Plastic uses 33% less energy. Paper uses 60% less energy. Steel and tin uses 60% less energy. And Aluminum cans us a massive 95% less energy.
Great right? Well There is more.
Producing recycled paper puts 74% less pollution into the air. And. 35% less into the water. All that energy that is saved translates into energy that can be used for other things. Recycling one aluminum can for example could power:
- A TV for two hours
- A computer for three hours
- A 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours
- A 14 watt CFL light bulb for 20 hours
At the end of the day, when you add it all up, it could equal enough energy to power almost 20 million households in the United States. and save green house gases equal to over 38 million cars!
Recycling can be expensive. That’s right. It costs a lot of mula to reuse old stuff. For example, a single stream recycling facility can cost up to $10 million to build. In New York City it costs an extra $300 per ton of garbage to recycle it verses putting it in a land fill. And, it can cost $4,000 to recycle $32 worth of plastic bags.
Not only can it cost a lot to recycle, it isn’t always efficient. The carbon footprint of recycling 40,000 plastic bottles is the same as one round trip ticket from NYC to London. And Recycling one ton of glass only saves one ton of carbon dioxide.
Not only that, but 25% of what is recycled gets contaminated. May as well not recycle in the first place. Especially if you consider that 90% of green house benefits come from recycling just three things!
5 Tips for Smarter Recycling
- Know your local recycling program’s rules and regulations
- Avoid contamination by rinsing dirty recyclables
- Shred sensitive documents before recycling
- Prioritize reducing your household’s waste
- Buy recycled materials to grow market demand
20 Things that SHOULD be in Your Recycle Bin
- Aluminum cans
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic bags
- Plastic bottles
- Cell phones
- Yard trimmings
20 Things That Should NOT be Recycled
- Plastic bags
- Plastic wrap
- Wires and electric cords
- Aerosol cans
- Hazardous waste
- Medical waste (like syringes)
- Pizza boxes and takeout containers
- Disposable drinking cups
- Napkins and paper towels
- Popsicle sticks
- Propane cylinders
- Rigid plastics (like lawn furniture)
- Shipping envelopes
- Clothes hangers
- Wet paper