Thursday, March 15, 2007

Some interesting and alarming facts

Here are some interesting facts I found about recycling and energy. I was especially interested in reading about recycling paper after reading Royte's experiences. Reading about recycling, both the pros and con's, and how it can make an impact in the environment one piece of paper at a time, has really made me take action to make a more concerted effort to recycle. I was appalled, looking at my own garbage habits, at the number of recyclables I throw away simply because my apartment complex doesn't pick them up!! I have begun saving all my glass and plastic bottles, my aluminum and tin cat food can's and my scrap paper and newspapers. I give them to my mom once a week and she recycles them for me. Not only has this cut down on the amount of garbage in my house at any given time, I feel better about saving them to give to her, even if it does mean putting them in plastic bags for transport-which I'm sure she's saving for our project.

On that note, I have just this week taken a look at the space between my refrigerator and the wall which is where I stuff all my plastic grocery bags. The space is stuffed full!!! I'm going to have to find some more storage until I can bring them all in to be counted for our mock collection!!! Anyway, hope every one's spring break is good and enjoy these facts. They are a good starting point for further research.

Energy Facts

Recycled aluminum saves 95% energy vs. virgin aluminum; recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours (Reynolds Metal Company)
Recycled aluminum reduces pollution by 95% (Reynolds Metal Co.)
4 lbs. of bauxite are saved for every pound of aluminum recycled (Reynolds Metal Co.)
Enough aluminum is thrown away to rebuild our commercial air fleet 4 times every year.

Recycled glass saves 50% energy vs. virgin glass (Center for Ecological Technology); recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours (EPA)
Recycled glass generates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution (NASA)
1 ton of glass made from 50% recycled materials saves 250 lbs. of mining waste (EPA)
Glass can be reused an infinite number of times; over 41 billion glass containers are made each year (EPA)
Recycled paper saves 60% energy vs. virgin paper (Center for Ecological Technology)
Recycled paper generates 95% less air pollution: each ton saves 60 lbs. of air pollution (Center for Ecological Technology)
Recycling of each ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water (EPA)
Every year enough paper is thrown away to make a 12' wall from New York to California

Plastic milk containers are now only half the weight that they were in 1960 (EPA)
If we recycled every plastic bottle we used, we would keep 2 billion tons of plastic out of landfills (Penn State)
According to the EPA, recycling a pound of PET saves approximately 12,000 BTU's.
We use enough plastic wrap to wrap all of Texas every year (EPA) Source: University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Produced and maintained by the Office of Waste Management
Further Facts
A ton of recycled paper equals or saves 17 trees in paper production.
Production of recycled paper uses 80% less water, 65% less energy and produces 95% less air pollution than virgin paper production.
If offices throughout the country increased the rate of two-sided photocopying from the 1991 figure of 20% to 60%, they could save the equivalent of about 15 million trees." (from Choose to Reuse by Nikki & David Goldbeck, 1995).
Global paper use has grown more than six-fold since 1950. One fifth of all wood harvested in the world ends up in paper. It takes 2 to 3.5 tons of trees to make one ton of paper. Pulp and paper is the 5th largest industrial consumer of energy in the world, using as much power to produce a ton of product as the iron and steel industry. In some countries, including the United States, paper accounts for nearly 40 percent of all municipal solid waste. Making paper uses more water per ton than any other product in the world. Source: The Worldwatch Institute.
Over a ton of resources is saved for every ton of glass recycled -- 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar. Also a ton of glass produced from raw materials creates 384 pounds of mining waste. Using 50% recycled glass cuts the waste by 75%.
Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Amelia, thanks for posting these excellent statistics. We might want to pick some of these to put on the posters I am trying to enlist help in making. (hint, hint)

Anonymous said...

Interesting story as for me. I'd like to read something more concerning that matter. Thnx for posting this data.
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