Recycling Facts

Did you know...

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
  • If all the aluminum cans Americans threw away in one month were stacked on top of each other, they would reach to the moon.
  • Aluminum cans are able to be recycled using less than 5% of the energy used to make the original product.
  • Recycling a ton of aluminum save the equivalent in energy of 2,350 gallons of gas, enough to power the average car for more than 64,000 miles.
  • Every ton of paper that is recycled saves about 17 trees.
  • Every tree provides enough oxygen for three people to breathe.
  • It takes 75,000 trees to print a Sunday Edition of the New York Times.
  • Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  • Making plastic bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year.
  • Material like food scraps and plant clippings that go into landfills take up costly space and decompose to form methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
  • Food and yard waste make up almost 30% of CA's waste stream.
  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to two million gallons of fresh water.
  • In 2009, American's generated 243 million tons of garbage.
  • Since California's beverage container recycling program began in 1987, Californians have recycled more than 120 billion bottles and cans, enough to circle the earth more than 375 times.
  • The largest landfill in the world is the Fresh Kills landfill, on Staten Island. It is more than 500 feet in height. Opened in 1948, it encompasses 2,200 acres about 2.8 by 3.8 miles and contains nearly 3 billion cubic feet of fill. The facility was closed in March 2001, but reopened to receive debris created by the fall of the World Trade Center.
  • It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.
  • Every Californian generates approximately 6 pounds each of trash per day! There's everything from paper, uneaten food, construction leftovers, cut grass, plastic, glass, metal, old batteries, computers, phones, and tons of other "stuff."
  • Every year Americans fill enough garbage trucks to form a line that would stretch from the earth, halfway to the moon.
  • Each square mile of ocean is estimated to have 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.