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Know Your Facts

“there are no such things as great deeds — only small ones done with great heart.” —mother theresa, founder of the missionaries of charity and nobel peace prize winner, 1979

2 books on the environment
  Waste & Recyclng Facts
Aluminum & Tin


Waste & Recycling Facts

  • The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it.
  • The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper.
  • In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. This means that each adult will leave a legacy of 90,000 pounds of trash for his or her (or other people's) children.
  • Americans comprise about 5% of the world's population and annually produce 27% of the world's garbage.
  • Massachusetts generates 13.9 million tons of waste generated annually, and 52% (7.2 million tons) is recycled or diverted.


  • One recycled bottle saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than does making a new bottle.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as does burning it.
  • We throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour.
  • Five recycled plastic bottles make enough fiberfill to stuff a ski jacket.
  • 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to make bottles every year, a waste that could instead power 250,000 homes.
  • Globally, we use as many as 1 million new plastic bags every minute, at a cost of 2.2 billion gallons of oil a year.


  • Traditional waste disposal creates greenhouse gas emissions that result from the decomposition of waste in landfills and the burning of waste in incinerators. Making new paper from recycled materials uses less energy than producing paper from virgin tree products and leaves more trees to absorb carbon dioxide in the forest.
  • It takes 390 gallons of oil to produce a ton of paper.
  • To produce one trillion pages of paper takes 8.5 million acres of trees, representing an area larger than the country of Belgium or the state of Maryland.
  • 2000 pounds of recycled paper can actually help to save 17 trees, over 350 gallons of oil, and a lot of landfill space.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection estimates that Massachusetts’ businesses threw away 1.6 million tons of paper in 2006, at a cost of $100 million for disposal.
  • The amount of office paper wasted each year in Massachusetts is enough to fill Fenway Park to the height of the Prudential Building.
  • The average American uses seven trees and 680 pounds of paper per year.
  • One person uses two pine trees' worth of paper products each year.
  • Today, 62 million newspapers will be printed in the U.S., and 44 million will be thrown away. That means the equivalent of about 500,000 trees will be dumped into landfills this week.
  • If every American recycled one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save 25,000,000 trees per year.

Aluminum & Tin

  • Aluminum cans are the #1 recycled item. Because of this, they make up less than 1% of waste in the U.S.
  • There is no limit to the number of times an aluminum can can be recycled.
  • A recycled aluminum can is back on the shelf within 60 days.
  • Recycling two aluminum cans saves the amount of energy it takes to power a PC for one workday.
  • Every day, Americans use enough steel and tin cans to make a steel pipe running from Los Angeles to New York and back.
  • You can make 20 new cans from recycled material with the same energy it takes to make one from scratch.
  • The aluminum foil on Hershey's Kisses is recyclable; 133 square miles of it per day are used to wrap the candies.


  • Glass bottles take 4,000 years to decompose.
  • Glass never wears out — it can be recycled forever.


  • One quart of motor oil can contaminate 2 million gallons of fresh water.
  • Motor oil never wears out; it just gets dirty. It can be recycled.

The above information is courtesy of:
Live Earth