Recycling is when we take materials that we were going to throw away and put them through a process so they can be reused again.
Many things can be recycled such as paper, metal, plastic, glass and electrical equipment.
Recycling saves energy, is good for the environment, saves natural resources and saves space in landfills.
Recycling also saves money. It costs around $30 per ton to recycle. It cost $50 per ton to deliver garbage to a landfill and another $60-75 to incinerate (burn) it.
Did you know that people have been recycling for thousands of years!
In ancient civilizations people would melt down metal products such as swords, pot and household items to make new things such as coins and other items.
Did you know that 75% of garbage is recyclable but we only recycle around 30%!
The US is the worlds largest trash producing country. 40% of the worlds garbage comes from the US.
The average American throws out around 4.6 pounds of garbage everyday, that more than 251 tons every year!
34% of the annual garbage thrown away is paper products and paper is recyclable!
The average American uses 17 tress a year in paper and other wood products.
Did you know that we throw away enough wood and paper each year to heat 50,000 homes for 20 years!
Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and three yards of landfill space.
Did you know that the average American receives 500 pieces of junk mail every year! Most people don’t even open it and just throw it away.
Each year it takes 100 million trees to make all the junk mail!
One glass bottle can take over 4000 years to decompose. That means it will sit in a landfill for a very long time.
Glass can be recycled over and over again.
The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can light a light bulb for over 4 hours.
Using recycled glass to make new glass products causes less air pollution and water pollution than when a glass product is made from un-recycled products.
Metal is one of the easiest things to recycle.
It’s melted down and poured into mold to make new parts and products.
We use 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year in the US!
One aluminum soda can will sit in a landfill for over 500 years.
Recycling one aluminum saves enough energy to watch a T.V for 3 hours!
Did you know that Americans as a whole use around 4 million plastic bottles every day!
A lot of plastic bottles end up in the oceans. Tons wash up on the shores every year!
If you lined up the amount of plastic bottles thrown away every year it would circle the Earth 4 times!
17 million barrels of oil are used to make all the plastic water bottles used in the US every year!
Only about 12% of those plastic water bottles are recycled. 88% of the plastic bottles end up in landfills.
Try using reusable bottles when having juice or water. It will save you money and help the Earth!
Think about how many plastic and paper bags people use everyday from grocery shopping, or buying other items at stores.
It takes 14 million trees to makes all the paper bags used and 12 million barrels of oil to make all the plastic bags used every year!
Both paper and plastic bags can be recycled, but only 1%-3% of plastic bags and 10%-14% of paper bags are recycled every year.
You can recycle bags by reusing them when you shop or bring your own cloth bags when shopping.
Did you know that most batteries can be recycled? Batteries that are thrown away can cause air and water pollution, how?
Batteries contain a lot of chemicals such as mercury, lead and others that can cause humans to get sick.
When batteries are left in landfills those chemicals can leak into the ground contaminating soil and water.
When the batteries are incinerated (burned) with other garbage those chemicals go out into the air causing air pollution.
To help the Earth try buying rechargeable batteries and recycling old batteries. Every year around 24 million tons of leaves and grass clipping from cutting the grass are thrown away. Instead of it being thrown away it can be used to make compost.
Compost is organic materials such as grass, leaves, egg shells, fruit scraps, coffee grinds and tea bags that have been decomposed and recycled to use as plant fertilizer and soil.
Compost has a lot of nutrients and is a great natural pesticide (preventing bugs) for the soil.
Did you know that you can make compost at home!
There are different ways to make compost at home. You can buy a compost bin a store such as Home Depot or Lowes. You can also make a compost pile at home is a dry shady spot in your back yard with compost materials (such as leaves, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps) and water.
There are different ways to recycle.
Curbside recycling- At home you can separate your garbage into separate bins. Make one bin for plastic, another for aluminum cans, another for plastics and one more for newspapers. Check with your local town for recycling garbage pick up day.
Drop Off Center- Find out where local recycling drop off centers are in your town.
Buy Back Locations- You can make money from recycling. Collect soda cans and plastic bottles and bring them to your local supermarket to exchange for money. Many scrap medal companies will pay you for scrap metal.
Reuse- Instead of throwing away and old toy or bicycle find out where a local donation center is in your town and donate it. There are many kids who would love to receive them. You can also be creative and turn that old can into a new pencil holder by painting it. There are so many ways to make old things new again with a little imagination!
In the US we are moving forward with recycling. In the last decade alone there has been around 100% increase in recycling. To help our Earth we must keep it going so remember to do your part and recycle every day!