As an expert in sustainability and environmental impact, I have seen firsthand the importance of recycling. By reusing and reusing materials, recycling helps reduce our reliance on natural resources and preserves valuable materials. In this article, I will share with you the top 10 facts about recycling that everyone should know. And if you're interested in learning more about plastic, check out our top 10 plastic facts. Despite the significant energy and resources that can be saved through glass recycling, the UK still sends 14 million glass bottles and jars to landfills every day.
This is just one example of how recycling is currently in crisis in the U. S. due to public confusion. According to a recent study by Yale University funded by the EPA, recycling levels are only at 21.4%.
However, if we can increase recycling levels to 75%, it would have the same environmental impact as removing 55 million cars from the road. Not only that, but it would also generate 1.5 million new jobs in the U. Manufacturers are eager to reuse these materials in their manufacturing processes, but they can't do so if people don't recycle properly. It's clear that recycling has a significant positive impact on many aspects of our existence on this planet. One of the most surprising facts about recycling is that it creates between 7 and 10 times more jobs than sending waste to landfills or incinerators. This means that proper recycling not only benefits the environment but also creates valuable resources for American industries.
In fact, it has the potential to become a valuable export for countries like China and India. As our population continues to grow exponentially, it's essential that we conserve limited natural resources through recycling. Another significant benefit of recycling is that it conserves fresh water. In fact, it can save up to 95% of the water used in the process of extracting and manufacturing various materials. Additionally, recycling prevents waste from reaching our oceans.
When there is a strong recycling culture, less garbage and waste end up in our oceans. This not only helps protect marine life but also reduces the use of energy from fossil fuels and decreases CO2 emissions. Despite the clear benefits of recycling, the U. has not seen an improvement in recycling levels in the past 20 years. This is despite billions of dollars being spent on recycling contests, symposiums, awareness campaigns, and new sorting technologies.
It's shocking to know that even though the U. only represents 5% of the world's population, it generates more waste than any other country in the world. In less than 15 years, global waste is expected to double. This is a concerning statistic, especially when you consider that Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12-foot high wall from Seattle to New York - and this happens every year! However, making paper from recycled materials can reduce air pollution by 95%. Recycling just a stack of newspapers that's 3 feet tall can save one tree.
And did you know that more than 37% of the fiber used in manufacturing new paper products in the U. comes from recycled materials?Cardboard is another material that can be easily recycled. In fact, recycling cardboard only requires 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard. By recycling just one ton of cardboard, we can save 46 gallons of oil.
With more than 90% of all products shipped in corrugated cardboard boxes in the U. S., it's no surprise that nearly 80% of retailers and grocery stores recycle their cardboard. And instead of wasting food and paper, we can convert it into compost to be used as nutrient-rich soil for farmers. In the U.
S., nearly half of all food is wasted - that's approximately 3,000 pounds per second!Glass is another material that can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing its quality. By recycling glass, we can reduce related water pollution by 50%. And did you know that recycling just one glass jar can save enough electricity to power an 11W CFL bulb for 20 hours? Despite this, more than 28 billion glass bottles and jars still end up in landfills each year - that's equivalent to filling two Empire State buildings every three weeks. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is another growing concern. It currently accounts for approximately 2% of the waste flow in the U.
To combat this issue, several states have implemented mandatory electronic product collection and recycling programs. And when it comes to plastic, recycling just five PET bottles can provide enough fiber to create a square foot of carpet or enough fiber padding to fill a ski jacket. Yet, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. By recycling a ton of plastic bottles, we can save enough energy to power a two-person household for one year. Finally, let's talk about aluminum.
Every three months, Americans dump enough aluminum into landfills to build our country's entire commercial air fleet. However, the average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans over their lifetime. And by recycling a single aluminum can, we can save enough energy to power a TV for three hours. Not only that, but it also requires 95% less energy and water to recycle a can than it does to create one from virgin materials.