Recycling Facts And Statistics {Updated}

By Rebekah Pierce

There is a lot of talk about recycling these days. But what does it actually mean? And why should we do it? Here are some recycling facts and statistics to help answer those questions and convince you that recycling is worth your effort.

What Are Some Statistics About Recycling?

If you’re looking for some interesting recycling statistics, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about how much recycling really benefits our planet!

1. According to the EPA, the recycling and reuse of materials generated in the United States saved enough energy in 2015 to power more than 24 million homes for a year. 

This not only conserves space, but also reduces the greenhouse gasses that are released when organic waste decomposes. As more and more people adopt recycling and reuse into their daily lives, the benefits will continue to grow.

2. Recycling and composting prevented 85 million tons of material from being landfilled or incinerated, which is equivalent to saving more than one billion trees. 

The benefits of recycling and composting are many. Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces pollution, and creates jobs. Composting also conserves resources, reduces pollution, and creates soils. In addition, it reduces methane emissions from landfills and decreases the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 

3. Despite these impressive numbers, only about 34% of all recyclable materials were actually recycled in 2015. This means that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to recycling. 

One way to increase recycling rates is to better educate people about the benefits of recycling and the negative consequences of not recycling. 

For example, many people are not aware that recycling can save energy and help to preserve natural resources. By increasing public awareness, we can hope to increase recycling rates and make a positive impact on the environment.

4. Using recycled steel saves enough resources to power 18 million homes – for an entire year.

Recycling is often touted as an easy way to help the environment, and it turns out that recycling steel can have a big impact. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, recycling just one ton of steel saves 2,500 pounds of coal and 450 pounds of limestone. This means that recycling all the steel produced in the United States each year would save enough coal to power 18 million homes for a year. 

In addition, recycling steel helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve natural resources. Given the many benefits of recycling steel, it’s clear that this is one recyclable that everyone can feel good about putting in their blue bin. 

5. The average office worker generates around 2 lbs of paper and paperboard waste each day. 

This waste accounts for more than 30% of all municipal solid waste. While recycling is the best option for reducing paper waste, there are also some simple steps that everyone can take to reduce their paper usage. For example, printing on both sides of a sheet of paper can help to reduce paper consumption by 50%.

6. About 40% of the world’s logging industry goes into manufacturing virgin paper. 

In other words, nearly half of all the tree-cutting that takes place around the world is for the purpose of making new paper products, rather than for recycling or using existing paper products. 

This has a number of environmental impacts. First, it takes a significant amount of energy to produce new paper from scratch, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Second, it can lead to deforestation if trees are not replanted at the same rate they are being cut down.

7. Each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees. 

That means that if everyone in the United States recycled just half of their used paper, we would save more than 130 million trees each year! In addition to saving trees, recycling paper also conserves energy and water. It takes far less energy to recycle paper than it does to create new paper from scratch.

8. It takes 4000 years for a glass bottle to decompose. 

The long decomposition times for glass and plastic are a major problem because they contribute to pollution and landfill build-up. But it’s not just the materials themselves that are harmful – it’s also the way we dispose of them. Glass and plastic bottles are often thrown away carelessly, ending up in our oceans and forests where they can do serious damage to ecosystems.

9. Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire US commercial air fleet every three months. 

Recycling aluminum requires only a fraction of the energy needed to produce new aluminum, making it an environmentally friendly option.

10. About 33% of glass used in the US is recycled.

Glass is an endlessly recyclable material that can be used over and over again without losing any of its quality. In fact, recycled glass is actually stronger than virgin glass, making it an excellent choice for a variety of applications. 

11. The average person uses 700 lbs of paper per year.

This high level of consumption is due to a variety of factors, including the increasing use of paper products in school and office settings. In addition, many Americans rely on paper products for at-home tasks such as printing, writing, and packaging.

12. The amount of aluminum recycled each year is around 620,000 tons. 

Aluminum is a sustainable metal that can be recycled over and over again without losing its quality.

What Are Some Fun Facts About Recycling?

Do you know what happens to the plastic bottle you recycle? How about recycling? recycling is a process that helps conserve natural resources and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. Here are some fun facts about recycling that you may not have known!

And here’s a video with even more fun recycling facts:

  • The average person creates almost five pounds of trash each day. 
  • Recycling rates have grown by 300% in the last four decades. 
  • Cardboard can be recycled at least seven times!
  • Each year, 2.4 million tons of recycled glass are used to make new containers. 
  • The US recycles enough iron and steel scrap metals each year to build more than 900 Golden Gate bridges! 
  • A ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled. 
  • One metric ton of electronic scrap materials from personal computers has more gold than you would recover from 17 tons of gold ore. 
  • The paper pulp and press board from recycled milk or ice cream cartons can be used to make paper towels, toilet paper, or eco-friendly building materials. 

What Percent Of The World Recycles?

While many people are aware of the benefits of recycling, the actual percentage of people who recycle globally is surprisingly low. A recent study found that only 9% of the world’s waste is actually recycled. This means that a staggering 91% of waste ends up in landfills or being incinerated.

The good news is that recycling rates are slowly but steadily increasing. In some countries, such as Germany, over 50% of waste is recycled. But there is still a long way to go before we reach global recycling targets. To increase recycling rates, it is important to educate people about the benefits of recycling and to make it easy for them to recycle.

So what are you waiting for? Get started with recycling today and get inspiration from these statistics. Every little bit counts when it comes to preserving our planet, so make sure to do your part!

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