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11 Facts About Recycling

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Welcome to DoSomething.org, a global movement of millions of young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.^[U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Municipal Solid Waste." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  2. Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, enough to fill Busch Stadium from top to bottom twice a day. Next time you’re at a sporting event or tailgate, host a trash-free tailgate using only recyclable materials Sign up for Trash-Free Tailgate.^[U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "10 FAST FACTS ON RECYCLING." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  3. The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it.^[Indiana University. "Waste & Recycling." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  4. We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year. If we composted that food, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.^[Carnegie Mellon University. "CEE Green Team." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  5. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod. Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks. Sign up for 5 Cans Challenge to save energy and show off your creative side.^[East Carolina University. "Some Facts on Your Lifestyle and Travel Footprint." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  6. The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) estimates that the 36 billion aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million.^[U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "10 FAST FACTS ON RECYCLING." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  7. Americans throw away about 28 billion bottles and jars every year.^[U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "10 FAST FACTS ON RECYCLING." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  8. Over 87% of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.^[Keep America Beautiful. "Recycling Facts & Statistics." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  9. In 2009, Americans threw away almost 9 million tons of glass. That could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from NYC to LA (and back!).^[Keep America Beautiful. "Recycling Facts & Statistics." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  10. In 2010, paper recycling had increased over 89% since 1990.^[Keep America Beautiful. "Recycling Facts & Statistics." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
  11. A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days.^[Keep America Beautiful. "Recycling Facts & Statistics." Web Accessed April 25, 2015.]
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