Fun Facts

Did You Know...

Metal Cans

  • Americans throw away enough aluminum in three months to rebuild all of our commercial airplanes.
  • The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can could run a television for three hours.
  • The energy saved by recycling 19 billion steel cans each year is the same as Los Angeles' energy requirements for eight years.
  • Currently, the only source for new tin in the U.S. is from recycling used tin cans.
  • Recycled tin is so pure that it is used to make stannous fluoride, the "cavity fighter" in toothpaste.


  • Every year, Americans throw away enough office and writing paper to build a wall more than 12 feet high, stretching from Los Angeles to New York City.
  • Americans use more than 52 million tons of paper each year.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves one acre of trees.
  • Approximately 76 percent of all U.S. papermakers use some recovered paper to make everything from paper-based packaging to tissue products; from office paper to newspaper.
  • By weight, more paper is recovered for recycling from municipal solid waste streams than glass, plastic, steel and aluminum combined.

Glass Bottles and Jars

  • If all the glass bottles and jars collected through recycling in the U.S. in one year were laid end-to-end, they would reach the Moon and half way back to the Earth.
  • The volume of glass recycled by Americans in one year would fill New Jersey's Giants Stadium more than three times!
  • Glass can be recycled an infinite number of times.
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.


  • Used plastic soda and juice bottles are used to make carpets, insulating materials in clothes and sleeping bags, strapping, scouring, pads, auto parts, paint brushes, bottles, and other things such as tennis balls.
  • We can recycle plastic milk, water and detergent bottles to make new detergent and engine oil bottles, trash cans, flower pots, recycling bins, drainage pipes, park benches, playground equipment, traffic barrier cones, kitchen drain boards and combs.
  • The number of plastics recycling businesses has nearly tripled over the past several years, with more than 1,700 businesses handling and reclaiming post-consumer plastics.
  • By using plastic in packaging, American product manufacturers save enough energy each year to power a city of 1 million homes for three and a half years.
  • The post-consumer plastics recycling industry provides jobs for more than 52,000 American workers.


  • In one year an estimated seven million tons of clothing and other textiles are thrown away. Only 12 percent are reused or recycled.
  • Textile recycling provides raw materials for upholstery, for filling mattresses, for wadding and other absorbent products, and for the manufacture of felt as well as fibre from which new cloth can be made.

Sources: Aluminum Recycling, American Forest and Paper Association Recycling, Environmental News Network (, EPA,, Bureau of International Recycling.

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