Benefits of Recycling
Recycling benefits the environment by conserving energy and resources, reducing water use and the need for landfills. It also benefits the economy. According to the EPA, recycling generates five times more jobs than sending the same waste to a landfill.
To calculate the impact of your recycling efforts, visit the National Recycling Coalition's recycling calculator .
Paper and Cardboard
Recycling one ton of paper saves:
- 17 trees / 7,000 gallons of water
- 463 gallons of oil / 3 cubic yards of landfill space
- has the same impact on greenhouse gases as not driving your car for almost two months
- enough energy to heat the average home for six months
In northwestern Vermont recycled newspaper will become new paper in less than a month.
If you recycle the Sunday paper every week for a year, you will save four trees.
Paper can be recycled ten times before the fibers which form the paper are too small to be used again.
Every three months Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial airline fleet.
With the energy saved by recycling one aluminum soda can, you can run your television for three hours.
Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. Aluminum can be recycled over and over again with no loss of quality.
Recycling one ton of steel saves:
- 2500 lbs of iron ore / 1400 lbs of coal
- 120 lbs of limestone
Plastic recycling is more complicated than other paper or aluminum recycling because recycled plastic bottle and food containers, the source of much of the plastic in our curbside bins, are not made into new food containers. Instead, that plastic is turned into: plastic lumber; baby and child products, such as car seats and toys; and clothing.
It takes roughly 700 years for a plastic bottle to degrade, and recycling one ton of plastic bottles can conserve 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space and 12,000 BTUs of heat energy.
Americans consume 4,000,000 plastic bottles per hour and currently only 1,000,000 of them will be recycled.
Recycling a plastic bottle will preserve roughly one-third of the energy used to make the bottle. However, the best thing to do about plastic bottles is to simply use less of them. This also applies to plastic bags, which are consumed at a rate of 1500 per family of four per year in the United States. For more tips on how to reduce your use of plastic visit our Waste Reduction page.