Facts About Recycling
Ecology Action of Texas is a proponent of Zero Waste.
The only peer-reviewed internationally accepted definition of Zero Waste was developed by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA):
"Zero Waste is a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary, to guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health."
- In 1995, 2 billion pounds of aluminum cans were diverted from landfills.
- More than 50% of a new aluminum can is made from recycled aluminum.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves the equivalent of enough energy to run a television set for three hours.
- Aluminum can be recycled and reused indefinitely without a decline in material performance or quality.
Steel "Tin" Cans:
- About 566 steel cans are recycled every second.
- Every day, Americans use more than 100 million steel cans.
- Recycling steel cans saves 74 percent of the energy that would be used to produce from virgin materials.
- Glass is 100 percent recyclable in a true closed-loop system; there are no waste by-products.
- Every glass bottle that is recycled can save enough energy to light a 100-watt lightbulb for four hours.
- By recycling one ton of glass, we save the energy equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil.
- Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
- Five recycled soft drink bottles will make enough fiberfill for a man's ski jacket.
- 1,050 recycled milk jugs can be made inot a six-foot park bench.
- The United States makes enough plastic film each year to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
- If only 10% of Americans bought products with less plastic packaging only 10% of the time, approximately 144 million punds of plastic could be eliminated from our landfills.
- As of 1994, more paper was being recovered than was sent to the landfills.
- One year's worth of the New York Times weighs 520 pounds.
- Every day, U.S. businesses generate enough paper to encircle the Earth 20 times.
- Every ton of paper recycled saves about 17 trees.
There is a very simple thing that you can do right now to positively impact the environment - Use Less Stuff!!
- At least 20 percent of solid waste generated by Texans comes from grass clippings, leaves, and other landscape wastes. (Texas Agricultural Extension Service)
- In 1970, over 20,000 landfills were in operation in the United States; by 1993, only 4,000 were open. (EPA)
- Texans spend over $1 billion annually for solid waste disposal services for over 22 million tons of garbage.
- In 1960, Americans disposed of 2.7 pounds of waste per person per day. By 1990, the number had risen to 4.3 pounds per person per day. (EPA) Reusing items whenever possible will cut down the amount of waste you generate.
- Workplace waste from the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors, which include schools, comprises 30 to 45% of municipal solid waste. (EPA)
- Recycling is good for the economy. A study by the Southern States Waste Management Coalition found that the recycling industry in Texas employs 20,000 workers and adds $2.9 billion in value to the Texas Economy.
Source: "Recycling in America: A Reference Handbook". Debra L. Strong. Published in 1997 by Contemporary World Issues.