Recycling is something we have all experienced one way or another – whether we know it or not. A simple act of recycling can have long-lasting effects on our environment – so we should strive to recycle wherever possible. Read on to learn 50 facts about Recycling.
Fact 1: Recycling is the process of creating new items from old and used materials that would’ve been thrown away.
- This helps to conserve energy, resources, and space.
Fact 2: Aluminium cans can be recycled and used again in just 2 months.
- It’s one of the most recycled items in the US. Although other forms of aluminium, like sheets and bars, can be recycled too.
Fact 3: The energy saved from recycling 1 aluminium can is the equivalent to watching 3 hours of television!
- If a can is thrown away and never recycled, it will take 500 years to decompose.
Fact 4: There are over 80 billion aluminium cans produced globally each year.
- Most beverage makers use aluminium cans for packaging.
Fact 5: If you recycled all the New York Times newspapers that were released today, you would save more than 75,000 trees.
- It would take around half a million trees just to produce the weekend edition of this newspaper.
Fact 6: Most Americans use at least 7 trees each year for wood, paper, and paper towels.
- If you do the math, you’ll find the whole US consumes around 2.3 billion trees a year.
Fact 7: An average American uses around 680 pounds of paper each year. Most Americans never recycle paper and just throw it away.
- If you save 2000 pounds of paper, that is equivalent to 17 trees.
Fact 8: Americans use more than 2.5 million plastic objects every 30 minutes. And most of them are never recycled.
- Most of the bottles used have numbers underneath for you to know if that plastic bottle is recyclable.
Fact 9: Plastic bags that are thrown away often end up in the ocean, and harm sea creatures.
- Some turtles think that plastics bags are Jellyfish. The turtles eat the plastic bags and this causes poisoning and blockages in their oesophaguses.
Fact 10: Before the ban by most US states, Americans would throw away around 25 billion Styrofoam cups a year!
- These Styrofoam cups are essentially impervious to erosion, weathering and bacteria and take over 500 years to break down.
Fact 11: It can take more than 4000 years to decompose a glass bottle.
- It’s one of the easiest materials to recycle as it can be recycled infinitely.
Fact 12: Glass bottles are separated by colour when they are recycled because they still retain their colour after being recycled.
- And still, even though it’s a well-established fact that glass bottles can be recycled EASILY, most are STILL being thrown away yearly.
Fact 13: Rainforests around the globe are decreasing by at least 100 acres a minute.
- This can mainly be attributed to the slashing and burning of forested areas for agricultural purposes.
Fact 14: Each year, we throw away enough wood and paper to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
- In the US alone, people throw away approximately 1 billion trees worth of wood-based material every year.
Fact 15: Fix that leaky faucet! One drop of water per second wastes around 540 gallons of water per year.
- That’s more than 8,600 cups a year!
Fact 16: A ton of recycled plastic can save 3,114 litres of oil, 20,786 megajoules of electricity, and 23 cubic meters of landfill space.
- 23 cubic meters is about the same size as a classic Mini Cooper.
Fact 17: In 2014, only 33% of the total number of plastic bottles sold in the US were recycled.
- The UK had a slightly bigger number at 45%.
Fact 18: In the UK, for every 1,000,000 tonnes of plastics produced, almost 85% of it won’t be recycled and ends up in a landfill site.
- Globally, the amount of plastic we throw away is enough to go around the earth 4 times.
Fact 19: 80% of the items buried in landfills could actually be recycled and reused.
- That’s why it’s the biggest contributor to soil pollution.
Fact 20: If you recycled a single plastic bottle, you could save up enough energy to light up a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
- It would create 50% less water pollution, and 20% less air pollution, compared to creating a new bottle.
Fact 21: 75% of America’s waste can actually be recycled.
- Although there are many steps to recycling waste, only 30% is actually recycled.
Fact 22: Motor oil never loses its effectiveness, it only gets dirty.
- We could just filter out the dirt and reuse it.
Fact 23: Switzerland has the highest recycling rate in the world at 58%.
- Australia comes next at 49.7% and Germany at 48%.
Fact 24: Women have more concerns about the environment and are more likely to recycle than men.
- Also, 90% of the people claim they would recycle if they knew some easy ways to do it.
Fact 25: There are 5.25 trillion plastic particles floating in the ocean.
- 244,000 metric tons of floating plastics are regularly mistaken for new islands.
Fact 26: Over 100,000 marine animals die every year because of ingesting plastic waste.
- Autopsies, performed on marine animals, show their stomachs are lined with plastics.
Fact 27: Glass bottles are infinitely recyclable without losing their quality or purity.
- That’s why today, to create new glass bottles, we recycle old ones.
Fact 28: In just 3 months, there are enough aluminium cans accumulated, so that you could rebuild a commercial air fleet.
- Aluminium cans make up 1% of the overall waste in the US.
Fact 29: Every time America celebrates a holiday, they produce 5 million tons of additional waste.
- Of the 5 million tons, 4 million tons is composed of gift wrappers and shopping bags.
Fact 30: Majority of ‘junk mail’ discarded in the US end up on landfills.
- If you transferred the energy used to create and distribute the ‘junk mail’, you could heat 250,000 homes a day.
Fact 31: To produce 1 trillion pages of paper, you would have to cut down 8.5 million acres of trees.
- That area is bigger than the state of Maryland.
Fact 32: Businesses in the US use 21 million tons of paper each year.
- If you used all this paper to make a wall, it would be 12-foot high, and from New York City to Los Angeles.
Fact 33: Paper-based Chlorine pollution is a real problem.
- When factories produce paper they sometimes use Chlorine-based bleach. When the paper later breaks down it gives off methane, which is 84 times worse than CO2.
Fact 34: 1 ton of recycled cardboard could save around 7 cubic meters of space in landfills.
- And it could save 174 litres of oil.
Fact 35: 70% of all corrugated cardboard’s are recovered for recycling.
- It only takes 75% of the energy required to produce new cardboard.
Fact 36: The US produces 34 million tons of food waste per year.
- That’s almost half of the total food intake of the US.
Fact 37: Electronic waste comprises of 2% of the total waste in the US.
- It generates 1.8 million tons of landfill waste.
Fact 38: Recycling 1 ton of trash costs $30 and is the cheapest way to dispose of waste.
- It costs $50 to send waste to a landfill and an additional $75 to incinerate.
Fact 39: A washable diaper costs only $0.03 per use, while commercial diapers cost around $0.22 per use.
- On average, a baby uses around 2,500 diapers a year.
Fact 40: Because landfill is so densely packed, no oxygen can penetrate it. This means only anaerobic bacteria can break down the waste leading to slower decomposition.
- ‘Anaerobic degradation’ causes a huge amount of methane gas, a major contributor to Global Warming.
Fact 41: Burying coffins also contribute to land pollution, due to the toxic chemicals in the materials used.
- More than 90,000 tons of steel and 2,700 tons of copper and bronze are buried yearly.
Fact 42: Most companies want their products to be disposed, and not reused.
- Most products have what’s called, built-in obsolescence. This is when a manufacturer knowingly builds in a failure point into the product thus limiting the products potential lifespan.
Fact 43: Before the 20th century, people practised reusing and recycling. Wasting was frowned upon in agricultural communities.
- Tanners would collect urine and use it to tan animal skins.
Fact 44: Bones were the most recycled item before the 20th century.
- People used bones to create buttons and gelatin.
Fact 45: It was in 1824 when the first organized incineration of trash began.
- After the Industrial Revolution industries shifted to mass production, thus diminishing the value of scraps.
Fact 46: 70% of global electronic wastes end up in China where family-ran workshops try to recycle them.
- Although it’s still technically recycling, their processes are rudimentary and could potentially do more harm to the environment.
Fact 47: 133 square miles of aluminium foil is needed to wrap 20 million Hershey Kisses each day.
- Although aluminium is highly recyclable, most of these wrappers end up in the trash because no one thinks of recycling such a small piece.
Fact 48: In the Pacific Ocean, there is a “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and it’s 3 times the size of France!
- It’s estimated to double in size within the next 5 years.
Fact 49: According to a study by Yale University, 12.8% of US landfill waste comes from construction and debris, rather than home waste.
- Although this does not represent the whole nation, this does suggest that construction workers could be more mindful about their product disposal.
Fact 50: There are 11 million tons of recyclable textiles disposed of in landfills each year.
- You could make about 85 billion t-shirts out of it.