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Recycleable Materials

Paper (all grades, including newspaper, cardboard and office paper):

By recycling one ton (2,000 lbs.) of paper, we save: 17 trees; 6,953 gallons of water; 463 gallons of oil; 587 pounds of air pollution; 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,077 Kilowatt hours of energy.
Around 45% of the paper Americans use each year (over 47 million tons) is recovered for recycling. This is made into a wide variety of goods such as new newsprint, boxes and office paper, paper towels, tissue products, insulation, cereal boxes, molded packaging, hydro-mulch, gypsum wallboard - even compost and kitty litter!
80% of U.S. papermakers use some recovered fiber in manufacturing, and nearly 200 mills use ONLY recovered paper for their fiber.
The average American uses 650 lbs. of paper per year.
100 million tons of wood could be saved each year if all that paper was actually recycled!
Sources: American Forest & Paper Association, Inc.; Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Weyerhaeuser


Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
Since 1978, the weight of a soda bottle has been reduced by 29%.
HDPE (#1) and PET (#2) are the most commonly recycled plastics.
Recycling a ton of PET saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
Half of all polyester carpet manufactured in the US is made from recycled soda bottles.
Recycled plastic is also made into plastic lumber, clothing, flower pots, insulation for sleeping bags & ski jackets, car bumpers and more.
Sources: American Plastics Council, Environmental Defense, NAPCOR


Currently 100% of all beverage cans are made from aluminum. Aluminum cans made their first appearance in America in 1953.
We use about 392 cans per person per year.
Aluminum cans typically have a recycled aluminum content of about 55%.
62.8 billion or 63.5 % of aluminum cans are recycled annually.
Recycling aluminum saves about 95% of the energy it would take to produce aluminum from its original source, bauxite.
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for three hours.
Aluminum recycling is so efficient that it can take as few as 60 days for a can to be collected, melted down and made into a new can sitting on a grocery store shelf.
Recycled aluminum is made into cans, pie pans, house siding, small appliances, lawn furniture; in fact , almost everything aluminum.
Sources: The Aluminum Association, Inc.; National Soft Drink Association


The steel (or "tin") can was invented in England in the early 1800s. Nowadays an increasing amount of steel cans are tin free.
The average American uses 142 steel cans annually.
The steel packaging recycled in 2000 would yield enough steel to build 185,000 steel framed homes - the equivalent number of homes in Wyoming.
In 2002, 25% of all new homes will be framed in recycled steel.
The steel from the more than 84% of appliances (39 million) recycled last year yielded enough steel to build about 160 football stadiums.
Recycling just one car saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
95% of scrap automobiles were recycled in 2000 in the US, at a rate of 25 cars every minute.
Through recycling each year, the steel industry saves enough energy to power 18 million homes - one-fifth of the households in the US.
Recycled steel is made into steel cans, building materials, tools - in fact, almost everything steel.
Sources: Steel Recycling Institute; Environmental Protection Agency


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