"this is one of the top environmental fixes taking root today."

Recycling Facts

  • Currently less than 35% of households and less than 10% of businesses in the U.S. recycle. (EPA 2011)
  • Those levels have barely improved in 15 years despite billions of dollars spent on competitions, symposiums, awareness campaigns and sorting technologies.
  • The experience at the bin needs to be improved for the general public, which is why we have introduced society-wide standardized labels.
  • If the US recycling levels can reach 75% it will be the environmental benefit of removing 50 million cars from the road each year and it will generate 1.5 million new jobs. Improving and increasing recycling is one of the greatest opportunities for our environment, our natural resources, and our economy!

(collected from the National Recycling Coalition and the U.S. EPA)

Plastic:

  • Five plastic bottles (PET) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square feet of carpet or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket.
  • Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year.

Cans:

  • Every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum in the landfills to build our nation’s entire commercial air fleet.
  • The average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime.
  • Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.
  • It requires 95% less energy and water to recycle a can than it does to create a can from virgin materials.

Papers:

  • Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12 foot high wall from Seattle to NY (a new wall every year).
  • Making paper from recycled paper reduces the related contribution to air pollution 95%.
  • Recycling a stack of newspaper just 3 feet high saves one tree.
  • More than 37% of the fiber used to make new paper products in the U.S. comes from recycled sources.

Glass:

  • Glass can be recycled and re-manufactured an infinite amount of times and never wear out.
  • Making glass from recycled material cuts related water pollution by 50%.
  • Recycling just one glass jar saves enough electricity to light an 11 watt CFL bulb for 20 hours.
  • More than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in landfills every year -- that is the equivalent of filling up two Empire State Buildings every three weeks.

Cardboard:

  • Recycling cardboard only takes 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard.
  • Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil.
  • Over 90% of all products shipped in the US are shipped in corrugated boxes, which totals more than 400 billion square feet of cardboard.
  • Nearly 80% of all retailers and grocers recycle their cardboard.

Food Waste: (without paper products)

  • Food waste can be used for composting and sold to farmers or it can be provided as a food source for local animal farms that meet federal, state and local regulations for food scrap usage.
  • Almost half of the food in the U.S. goes to waste - approximately 3,000 pounds per second.
  • Food scraps make up almost 12% of municipal solid waste generated in the U.S.
  • Many schools and businesses are starting to compost food waste on site.

Compost: (food waste with food-soiled paper products)

  • Food and paper waste used for food can be composted into nutrient rich soil and sold to farmers.
  • Almost half of the food in the U.S. goes to waste - approximately 3,000 pounds per second.
  • Food scraps make up almost 12% of municipal solid waste generated in the U.S.
  • Many schools and businesses are starting to compost food waste on site.

eWaste: (electronic waste)

  • In 2007, 82% equalling 1.8 million tons of ewaste (various electronics e.g. TVs, cell phones, computers etc) ended up in landfills.
  • In 1998, the National Safety Council study estimated about 20 million computers became obsolete within 1 year. In 2007, that number increased to 40 million.
  • Electronic waste total approximately 2% of the waste stream in the U.S.
  • Several states have now created mandatory collection and recycling programs for electronics.

Additional resources for recycling facts: