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Basic Recycling Facts

Going Green

Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded by information regarding the benefits or futility of recycling. With so much data being tossed about, how is it possible to know the real recycling facts? It can be difficult, but there are some details that have been substantiated.

Basic facts about recycling

Landfill use is reduced: By recycling as much as possible, fewer items end up in a landfill. With less going to the landfill, the usable life of the landfill is extended.

Recycling reduces the need for raw materials: For example, aluminum is produced in a four to one ratio. In other words, it takes four tons of bauxite to produce one ton of aluminum. Recycling one ton of aluminum into a different product saves thirty-seven barrels of oil.

Recycling glass: Glass can be recycled endlessly into innumerable shapes and for infinite purposes. It takes almost thirty per cent less energy to recycle glass than to manufacture new glass.

Paper: Recycling and remanufacturing paper uses two-thirds the energy that is needed to create paper from new sources.

Plastic: For all the negative publicity that plastic gets it does have benefits and does contribute to the health of the environment. For example:

  • One truck can deliver the same amount of plastic bags that it takes seven trucks to deliver of paper bags.
  • Plastics used in packaging save manufacturers enough electricity to power a city of a million for a thousand days.

There are more, and the faction that opposes plastic use and manufacture has some strong and valid arguments. Whichever side of the discussion you are on, the fact remains that plastic manufacture and use are a part of the economy. The most important issue surrounding plastic is that it gets recycled. Properly recycled plastic reduces its environmental impact on multiple levels. Improper disposal creates the burden.

Other recycling facts

The average American generates almost five pounds of trash and garbage each day. It has to go somewhere. Recycling keeps most of it out of the landfills.

Paper is the most prevalent trash item

Packaging materials account for almost one-third of all waste products generated.

Landfills are increasing in size while their numbers are decreasing. From 2000 to the present, the number of landfill decreased by more than seventy-five per cent.

While there is a glut of information about recycling available, it is important to take the time and understand the recycling facts. This understanding will help in deciding what methods are best suited for your particular situation, and remove the hyperbole and hysteria that surrounds the issue on all sides.

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