Holidays and Recycling: Helping you Make the Right Choices

As we go from holiday party to holiday party this year, exchanging gifts and enjoying holiday cheer, thinking about all the trash that is accumulated and not recycled isn’t necessarily high on our minds or list of priorities. Perhaps however, as a holiday gift and New Years resolution, you and the kids in your life could review some of the recycling facts listed below, and take into consideration where the trash from all our parties and gift giving goes, or should go. As a reminder, the average American throws out 4.5 pounds of trash a day, most of this from packaging..something to think about.

Guest Post: The Facts below were compiled by Recycling Revolution and put together for ClimateMama by Julianne Goodman and Jenna DiRito, students at Bergen County Academies in New Jersey.

Aluminum Recycling Facts

*A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new

Flickr Creative Commons: Nomadic Lass

can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
*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.
*A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!
*There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.

Paper Recycling Facts

*If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
*The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other

Flickr Creative Commons: Jaymi Heimbuch

products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year!
*The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.
*Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.

Plastic Recycling Facts

*Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are

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thrown away!
*Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
*Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year!
*Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.

Solid Waste and Landfills

*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.
*The US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.
*On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.

Miscellaneous Recycling Facts

*An estimated 80,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres of space — that’s almost 40 football fields. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
*A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
*Motor oil never wears out, it just gets dirty. Oil can be recycled, re-refined and used again, reducing our reliance on imported oil.
*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!

Thanks Julianne and Jenna for the Great Facts!


Climate Mama

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