Resources

We are regularly out on the web. When we find a great resource, whether it is a site or a phone number, we list it here for you to enjoy. From the list below, choose one of our topics then click the link to visit.

Green Factoids:

PAPER

• In 2005, the amount of paper recovered for recycling averaged 346 pounds for each man, woman and child in the United States.

• More than 36 percent of the fiber used to make new paper products in the United States comes from recycled sources

• By reducing the need for “virgin” resources extracted from forests, oil reserves, and mines, we use less energy, reduce greenhouse gases, water pollution, and conserve natural resources.

• If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year. Each one of those trees offsets over one ton of CO2 in a typical 50 year life-span.

• Burning one ton of paper, rather than recycling it, adds 1500 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere.

• Manufacturing one ton of office and computer paper with recycled paper stock can save between 3,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours over the same ton of paper made with virgin wood products.

• Preventing 1 ton of paper waste saves between 15 and 17 mature trees.

ALUMINUM/STEEL

• In 2003, 54 billion cans were recycled, saving the energy equivalent of 15 million barrels of crude oil — America’s entire gas consumption for one day.

• Aluminum and steel are both infinitely recyclable with no loss in quality.

• The average lifespan of a recycled aluminum can is 80 to 100 years. It can take 500 years for an aluminum can to degrade in a landfill.

• Aluminum beverage cans are getting lighter. Twenty years ago, a pound of aluminum made about twenty cans. Today, the same amount of aluminum makes approximately thirty cans.

• The aluminum Americans throw away each year is enough to provide the auto industry with all the raw material it needs to build a year’s worth of new cars.

• Aluminum can be recycled using less than 5 percent of the energy used to make the original product.
• Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100 watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

• Steel recycling in the United States saves the energy equivalent to electrical power for about one-fifth of American households for one year

• Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline

GLASS

• The average lifespan of a glass bottle disposed in a landfill is 1,000,000 years. If recycled, a glass bottle can “live” indefinitely.

• Since 1980, the average weight of a glass container has been reduced by more than 10%.

• The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials. A recycled glass bottle requires 30% less energy to manufacture than a bottle from “virgin” glass.

PLASTIC

• The average lifespan of a PET plastic bottle disposed in a landfill is 700 years.

• Recycling a ton of PET containers can save 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space

• Five 2-liter recycled PET bottles produce enough fiberfill to make a ski jacket.

• Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.

ELECTRONICS

• In 2005, used or unwanted electronics amounted to approximately 1.9 to 2.2 million tons. Of that, about 1.5 to 1.9 million tons were primarily discarded in landfills, and only 345,000 to 379,000 tons were recycled.

• Computer monitors and older TV picture tubes contain an average of four pounds of lead and require special handling at the end of their lives. In addition to lead, electronics can contain chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, zinc, and brominated flame retardants. When electronics are not disposed of or recycled properly, these toxic materials can present problems.

MISCELLANEOUS:
• The American recycling and reuse industry is a $200 billion dollar enterprise involving more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments, employing more than 1 million people, and generating an annual payroll of approximately $37 billion.

• Recycling, including composting, diverted 82 million tons of material away from disposal in 2006, up from 15 million tons in 1980, when the recycle rate was just 10% and 90% of MSW was being combusted with energy recovery or disposed of by landfilling.

The U.S. EPA has published a list of what consumers can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Important to note that Reducing waste “at the cash register” is the most environmentally desirable behavior. Reuse is 2nd most important, and Recycling 3rd.

• Reduce:
o Buy permanent items instead of disposables.
o Buy and use only what you need.
o Buy products with less packaging.
o Buy products that use less toxic chemicals.
• Reuse:
o Repair items as much as possible.
o Use durable coffee mugs.
o Use cloth napkins or towels.
o Clean out juice bottles and use them for water.
o Use empty jars to hold leftover food.
o Reuse boxes.
o Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
o Participate in a paint collection and reuse program. For information on handling household solid waste, visit www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/citizens.htm or call 1-800-424-9346.
o Donate extras to people you know or to charity instead of throwing them away.
• Recycle:
o Recycle paper (printer paper, newspapers, mail, etc.), plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans. If your community doesn’t collect at the curb, take them to a collection center.
o Recycle electronics. More information is at www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/eCycling.htm
o Recycle used motor oil (read an EPA brochure in PDF format; 8pp., 750K; epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/recycle/recy-oil.pdf).
o Compost food scraps, grass and other yard clippings, and dead plants.
o Close the loop – buy recycled products and products that use recycled packaging. That’s what makes recycling economically possible. Learn more at epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/muncpl/buyrec.htm