Recycling involves processing used materials into new products to prevent waste from potentially useful materials. It reduces the consumption of raw materials, energy usage, air pollution, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Creates Jobs
Recycling in the U.S. is a $236 billion a year industry. More than 56,000 recycling and reuse enterprises employ 1.1 million workers nationwide.
- Good For Our Economy
American companies rely on recycling programs to provide the raw materials they need to make new products.
- Reduces Waste
The average American discards seven and a half pounds of garbage every day. Most of this garbage goes into to landfills, where it's compacted and buried.
- Good For The Environment
Recycling requires far less energy, uses fewer natural resources, and keeps waste from piling up in landfills.
- Saves Energy
Recycling offers significant energy savings over manufacturing with virgin materials. (Manufacturing with recycled aluminum cans uses 95% less energy.)
- Preserves Landfill Space
No one wants to live next door to a landfill. Recycling preserves existing landfill space.
- Prevents Global Warming
In 2000, recycling of solid waste prevented the release of 32.9 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCE, the unit of measure for greenhouse gases) into the air.
- Reduces Water Pollution
Making goods from recycled materials generates far less water pollution than manufacturing from virgin materials.
- Protects Wildlife
Using recycled materials reduces the need to damage forests, wetlands, rivers and other places essential to wildlife.
- Creates New Demand
Recycling and buying recycled products creates demand for more recycled products, decreasing waste and helping our economy.
- The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.
- On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.
- Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year; about 680 pounds per person.
- Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution!
- In 1993, U.S. paper recovery saved more than 90,000,000 cubic yards of landfill space.
- If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
- The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
- The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours -- or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
- Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
- Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted.
- A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
Below are some sustainability signs from NYSERDA used to promote sustainability in the workplace: