America Recycles Day takes place every November 15 to promote and celebrate recycling in the United States. In honor of this upcoming event, here are six little-known recycling facts and interesting tidbits that you can share with friends and family to inspire and encourage recycling:
1. Four Pounds per Person
The average person creates over four pounds of trash every day. Contributing to this is our use of styrofoam cups, of which Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 each year. These cups can theoretically remain in landfills in exactly the same form they are in today, 500 years from now.
2. Aluminum to Infinity
There is no limit to how many times aluminum can be recycled. Why? It doesn’t actually break down during the melting and remolding process. In fact, a recycled can is generally turned into a new can and back on store shelves within 60 days. Guess what else: With the energy saved by recycling one aluminum can, you could watch TV for one hour.
3. A Country of Plastic
Americans throw away over 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour. We all need fresh water to drink each day, but this number could be much lower simply by carrying a reusable water bottle. Consider a stainless steel container in an appealing print or color that you’ll want to take everywhere with you. This material also tends to insulate much longer than other products.
4. Bad News for Trees
Nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down each year to provide materials for paper in America alone. Recycling one ton of paper saves two barrels of oil (which runs a car for over 1,000 miles), 4,100 kilowatts of energy (which powers a home for half a year), three cubic yards of landfill space, 60 pounds of pollution, and 17 trees.
5. The Sky’s the Limit
Every month, Americans could fill a tall skyscraper with the amount of glass bottles and jars they throw out, even though those bottles and jars are completely recyclable. Think that’s impressive? The energy saved by recycling just one of those glass bottles can power a regular light bulb for four hours.
6. We Can Always Do Better
Currently, less than 35 percent of American households and less than 10 percent of businesses recycle. The recycling rate has been increasing each year, but it’s still not where it needs to be.
Companies like Tom’s of Maine consider it their mission to make a difference for the environment. The business’s Sanford, Maine, manufacturing facility reduced the amount of waste that ended up in a landfill per ton of product manufactured from 95 kg per ton in 2011 to 59 kg per ton in 2013—already surpassing its goal for 2015. It now plans to work its way down to zero waste by 2020.
You can make a difference this America Recycles Day, too. Take the pledge at AmericaRecyclesDay.org to learn more about what materials are collected for recycling, reduce your own personal waste by recycling more within the next month, and encourage family and friends to take the pledge themselves.
Image source: Flickr