Did You Know?

By , February 12, 2016 3:09 pm

The Truth About Trash

•In the U.S., we go through around 1,500 plastic water bottles every second.

• Because plastic water bottles are shielded from sunlight in landfills, they will not actually decompose for thousands of years.

• The vast majority of plastic bottles are manufactured from petroleum, some of which comes from deposits as much as three billion years old.

• Plastic bags are also petroleum based. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil are used every year, just to make plastic bags in the U.S. The average person throws out 10 plastic bags a week, meaning an individual throws out 520 bags a year. You can drive your car for 60 miles with the same amount of oil it used to make those 520 bags.

• Only nine percent of plastic in the U.S. ever reaches a recycling facility, and the rest ends up in landfills or more likely waterways and the ocean.

• There is about 270,000 tons of plastic waste floating on the surface of the world’s oceans; plastic bags and plastic microfibers and beads make up a vast majority of this waste.

Plastic bags do not biodegrade. Light breaks them down into smaller and smaller particles that contaminate the soil and water and are expensive and difficult to remove.

• When the small particles from photo-degraded plastic bags get into the water, they are ingested by filter feeding marine animals. Biotoxins like PCBs that are in the particles are then passed up the food chain, including up to humans.

• It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement.

• When plastic finally does break down, it releases a whole slew of toxic chemicals including BPA, styrene, phthalates, vinyl chloride and dioxin, all of which end up in our air and water, and can injure or poison wildlife.

• The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a swirling vortex of waste and debris in the Pacific Ocean, covers an area twice the size of the continental U.S. and is believed to hold almost 100 million tons of garbage.

Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute.

• Each reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate thousands of plastic bags over its lifetime.


The Life of Litter
The Decomposition Rate of Trash
Source: The New York Times

• Paper: 2.5 months
• Orange Peel: 6 months
• Milk Carton: 5 years
• Cigarette Butt: 10 to 12 years
• Disposable Diaper: 75 years
• Tin Can: 100 years
• Beer Can: 200 to 500 years
• Styrofoam: never



Fascinating Facts About Trash in the United States
The following statistics show just how important recycling really is, and how much we need to ramp it up.

  • Every day in the U.S., we produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building.
  • We throw away 570 disposable diapers each second.
  • We throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  • We produce enough styrofoam cups annually to circle the earth 436 times annually.
  • We trash enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City annually.
  • We toss out enough aluminum cans to rebuild our commercial air fleet every three months.
  • We fill enough garbage trucks to stretch from Earth halfway to the moon annually.
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now.
  • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
  • We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year.
  • To produce each week’s Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.
  • If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
  • If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
  • The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
  • Mining and transporting raw materials for glass produces about 385 pounds of waste for every ton of glass that is made. If recycled glass is substituted for half of the raw materials, the waste is cut by more than 80%.
  • About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!
  • Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted.
  • On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.
  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
  • On average, each one of us produces 4.4 pounds of solid waste each day. This adds up to almost a ton of trash per person, per year.
  • A typical family consumes 182 gallons of soda, 29 gallons of juice, 104 gallons of milk, and 26 gallons of bottled water a year. That’s a lot of containers — make sure they’re recycled!

For more information go to: http://www.yourenew.com/ and http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html

These recycling facts have been compiled from various sources including the National Recycling Coalition, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Earth911.org.


The Power of Recycling

• 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled.

• Recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours.

• Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to power a TV for three hours, and aluminum cans can be recycled an unlimited number of times.

• Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save many trees.

• The average person in North America uses 551 lb. of paper each year. If they recycled it, each person would save about 4.6 average-sized trees.

• For every ton of paper recycled:

o 17 pulpwood trees are conserved.
o 500 pounds of air pollutants are not emitted.
o 12,000 gallons of processed water are conserved.
o Water pollution is reduced by 40%.
o Energy equivalent to 96 gallons of gasoline are conserved.
o Solid waste pollution is reduced.
o 5 cubic yards of landfill space is conserved.
o The amount of money to process the landfill space is conserved.


One Response to “Did You Know?”

  1. […] are provided to companies that need them, and the jobs created help the economy as well.It is much more cost effective to recycle than to haul trash to the landfill, and even more expensive to incinerate trash. On average, it […]

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