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Recycling Facts
Below is information to demonstrate just how important it is to recycle & a few myth busters as well!

  • New Mexico has a 16.2% recycling rate. (NM Environment Dept: Solid Waste Bureau 2010)
  • Nationally, Americans recycle 34% of discarded materials. (EPA)
  • Nearly 1.5 million more recycling jobs would be created if the national recycling rate reached 75%, according to a 2011 report by Tellus Institute and Sound Resource management
  • Nationally, Americans generated 4.6 pounds of garbage per day per person. (EPA)
  • 2006 U.S. Waste Breaks Down Into Paper 33.9%, Yard Trimmings 12.9%, Food Scraps 12.4%, Plastics 11.7%, Metals 7.6%, Rubber/Leather/Textiles 7.3%, Glass 5.3%, Wood 5.5%, Other 3.3% (EPA)
  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees, 2 barrels of oil (average car can go 1,260 miles), 4,100 kilowatts of energy (average home power use for 6 months), 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space, and 60 pounds of air pollution.
  • Recycling 1 aluminum can = 3 hours of energy to power a TV (Can Manufacturers Institute)
  • Recycling a 3 foot high stack of newspaper – 1 tree preserved (American Forestry & Paper Products)
  • Recycling 5 plastic bottles = 1 XL T-shirt or 1 sq. foot of carpet (American Chemistry Council: Plastics Division)
  • Construction and Demolition waste accounts for 19% of New Mexico’s landfill discards (NM Environment Dept: Solid Waste Bureau, 2008)
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months. (Environmental Defense Fund)
  • About 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable. (EPA)
  • Recycling creates 5 times on average as many jobs as landfilling. (EPA)
  • Recycling glass instead of making it from silica sand reduces mining waste by 70%, water use by 50%, and air pollution by 20%. (Environmental Defense Fund)
  • If we recycled all of the newspapers printed in the U.S. on a typical Sunday, we would save 550,000 trees--or about 26 million trees per year. (California Department of Conservation)
  • The energy saved each year by steel recycling is equal to the electrical power used by 18 million homes each year. (Steel Recycling Institute)
  • If every U.S. household replaced one roll of 1,000 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissues with 100% recycled ones, we could save: 373,000 trees and 155 million gallons of water. (Seventh Generation Co.)
  • The U.S. is 5% of the world's population but uses 25% of its natural resources. (EPA)
  • Americans discard 35 billion aluminum cans annually. If all were recycled, we would save an amount of energy equivalent to 150 Exxon Valdez oil spills annually. (State of California)
  • Aluminum can recycling saves 95% of the energy needed to make aluminum from bauxite ore. (Can Manufacturers Institute)
  • In test corn plots in Minnesota, fields treated with both compost and fertilizer achieved yields 17% higher than fields spread with only commercial fertilizer. (R.W. Beck and Associates.)
  • One pound of red worms can consume half a pound of food waste every day. (Compost! A Teacher’s Guide)
  • A quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water. (EarthWorks Group)
  • Do-it-yourself oil changes in the US produce at least 200 million gallons of used oil each year. More than half of it is wasted. (CT Dept of Environmental Protection.)
  • Americans throw away the equivalent of more than 30 million trees in newsprint each year. (EarthWorks Group)
  • Recycling half the world’s paper would free 20 million acres of forest land. (EarthWorks Group)
  • If you stacked up all the paper an average American uses in a year, the piles would be as tall as a two-story house. (EarthWorks Group)
  • The EPA has found that making paper from recycled materials results in 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution.
  • Plastics are made from petroleum - a limited nonrenewable resource. It is predicted that by the year 2040, the Earth‘s usable petroleum reserves will have been depleted. (State of California)
  • It takes 1,050 recycled milk jugs to make a 6-foot plastic park bench. (EarthWorks Group)
  • If you lined up all the polystyrene foam cups made in just one day, they would circle the earth. (EarthWorks Group)
  • Plastics are the fastest growing share of the US wastestream, accounting for 5% of household throwaways. Every American uses almost 200 pounds of plastic in a year — 60 pounds of it for packaging. (San Diego County)
  • When buried, some plastic materials may last for 700 years. Manufacturers add inhibitors that resist the decomposition process necessary to break down the plastic. (San Diego County)
  • Americans use 4 million plastic bottles every hour — yet only one bottle out of four is recycled. (EarthWorks Press)
  • Every year enough energy is saved by recycling steel to supply Los Angeles with nearly a decade’s worth of electricity. (EarthWorks Group)
  • Making tin cans from recycled steel takes only one-fourth of the energy needed to make them from new steel and creates only one-fourth of the water and air pollution created by making cans from new steel. (EarthWorks Press)
  • Americans use 100 million steel cans a day. We throw away enough steel every year to build all the new cars made in America. (EarthWorks Press)
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire American air fleet 71 times, enough steel to reconstruct Manhattan and enough wood to heat 5 million homes for 200 years. (San Diego County)
  • In the United States, we throw away enough garbage per day to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. Annually we fill up enough garbage trucks to form a line that would stretch from the earth halfway to the moon. (Indiana Department of Education)
  • In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. If you add it up, this means that a 150 pound adult will leave a legacy of 90,000 of trash. (EarthWorks Group)
  • For every $1000 of fast food sales, 200 pounds of trash is created. (San Diego County)
  • An average American uses eight times the natural resources of the average world citizen and produces five times the air pollution of the average world citizen. (WRAP)
  • Sixty percent of the world’s lead supply comes from recycled car batteries. Virtually 100% of the car batteries returned to gas stations and battery dealerships get recycled. (EarthWorks Group)

Busting Recycling Myths
We’ve all heard someone we know say that they don’t bother to recycle because they’re sure it ends up in the landfill or that it takes more energy to recycle something than to start from scratch….well we’re here to debunk these and other myths about recycling.  Recyclables are recycled AND recycling does saves energy.  Click to learn more

NM Recycling Poised to Add 5,000 JobsRecycle More New Mexico!




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