Well-run recycling programs cost less
to operate than waste collection, landfilling, and incineration.
The more people recycle, the cheaper it gets.
Two years after calling recycling a $40 million drain on the
city, New York City leaders realized that a redesigned, efficient recycling
system could actually save the city $20 million
and they have now signed a 20-year recycling contract.
Recycling helps families
save money, especially in communities with pay-as-you-throw
Well-designed programs save money.
Communities have many options available to make their programs more
cost-effective, including maximizing their recycling rates, implementing
pay-as-you-throw programs, and including incentives in waste management
contracts that encourage disposal companies to recycle more and dispose of less.
Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs,
$236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls.
Public sector investment in local recycling programs pays great
dividends by creating
private sector jobs. For every job collecting recyclables, there
are 26 jobs in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new
Recycling creates four jobs
for every one job created in the waste management and disposal industries.
Thousands of U.S. companies
have saved millions of dollars through their voluntary recycling
programs. They wouldn't recycle if it didn't make economic sense.
Recycling and composting diverted
nearly 70 million tons of material away from landfills and
incinerators in 2000, up from 34 million tons in 1990-doubling in just 10 years.
Every ton of paper that is
saves 17 trees.
The energy we save when we recycle one glass
bottle is enough to
light a light bulb for four hours.
Recycling benefits the air and water by creating a net reduction
in ten major categories of air
pollutants and eight major categories of
In the U.S., processing minerals contributes almost half of all
reported toxic emissions from industry, sending 1.5 million tons of pollution
into the air and water each year.
Recycling can significantly reduce these emissions.
It is important to reduce our reliance on foreign oil.
Recycling helps us do that by saving energy.
Manufacturing with recycled materials, with very few exceptions,
saves energy and water and produces less air and water pollution
than manufacturing with virgin materials.
It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make
it from raw materials. Making recycled steel saves 60%, recycled newspaper 40%,
recycled plastics 70%, and recycled glass 40%. These savings far outweigh the
energy created as by-products of incineration and landfilling.
In 2000, recycling resulted in an annual energy savings
equal to the amount of energy used in 6 million homes (over 660
trillion BTUs). In 2005, recycling is conservatively projected to save the
amount of energy used in 9 million homes (900 trillion BTUs).
A national recycling rate of 30% reduces
greenhouse gas emissions as much as removing nearly 25 million
cars from the road.
Recycling conserves natural resources,
such as timber, water, and minerals.
Every bit of recycling makes a difference.
For example, one year of recycling on just one college campus, Stanford
University, saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of
iron ore, coal, and limestone.
Recycled paper supplies more than 37% of the raw materials used
to make new paper products in the U.S. Without recycling, this material would
come from trees. Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled is the
equivalent of 12 trees. Every ton of office paper recycled is the equivalent of
When one ton of steel is recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore,
1,400 pounds of coal
and 120 pounds of
limestone are conserved.
Brutal wars over natural resources, including timber and
minerals, have killed or displaced more than 20 million people and are raising
at least $12 billion a year for rebels, warlords, and repressive governments.
Recycling eases the demand for the resources.
Mining is the world's most deadly occupation. On average, 40 mine
workers are killed on the job each day, and many more are injured.
Recycling reduces the need for mining.
Tree farms and reclaimed mines are not ecologically equivalent to
natural forests and ecosystems.
Recycling prevents habitat destruction,
loss of biodiversity, and soil erosion associated with logging and mining.