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WasteWise has collected the following environmental factoids to help you understand the impacts of waste prevention and recycling.
- Aluminum can be recycled using less than 5 percent of the energy used to make the original product.
- Recycling one aluminum beverage can save enough energy to run a 14 watt CFL bulb (60 watt incandescent equivalent) for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.
- Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
- Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down at the landfill.
- Five 2-liter recycled PET bottles produce enough fiberfill to make a ski jacket.
- Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass.
- The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
- It takes approximately 1 million years for a glass bottle to break down at the landfill.
- Tin cans contain 99 percent steel.
- Recycling steel and tin cans saves between 60 and 74 percent of the energy used to produce them from raw materials.
- According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel recycling in the United States saves the energy equivalent to electrical power for about one-fifth of American households for one year.
- One ton of recycled steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil and 1.49 tons of iron ore over the production of new steel.
- Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
- 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.