facts

Waste Reduction and Recycling Facts

January 5th, 2013 | Blog, News

Facts about Waste:

  • By the age of 6 months, the average Canadian has consumed the same amount of resources as the average person in the developing world consumes in a lifetime. (Recycling Council of Ontario)
  • In a lifetime, the average North American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. A 68 kg adult will leave a legacy of 40,825 kg of trash. (Natural Resources Canada)
  • The presence of humans in a variety of ecosystems is normal and expected. We, like plants and animals, need food, water and shelter. Our goal should be to do this in a way that ensures our habitats are maintained for future generations. (Parks Canada)
  • Plastic products contribute 7% by weight and 30% by volume to municipal solid waste. (Recycling Council of Ontario)
  • Across Canada it costs more than $1.5 billion per year to dispose of garbage. (Destination Conservation)
  • 10 plastic soft drink bottles are required to make the fiberfill for one ski jacket. (Greater Vancouver Regional District: Just the Facts)
  • Presently, 80% of municipal and industrial solid waste in Canada is disposed of by landfilling processes, with the remainder disposed through recycling, resource recovery and incineration. (Government of Canada)
  • Landfills sites account for about 38% of Canada’s total methane emissions. (Environment Canada)
  • About 1/3 of our waste is paper and paperboard. Another third is yard and kitchen waste. The rest is divided among glass, metals, plastics, textiles, wood and other materials. (Environment Canada)
  • There are well over 10,000 landfill sites in Canada. (Environment Canada)
  • One pound of newspaper can be recycled to make 6 cereal boxes, 6 egg cartons or 2,000 sheets of writing paper. (Recycling Council of Ontario)
  • Recycling one ton of glass saves about nine gallons of fuel oil. (Recycling Council of Ontario)
  • In three years, an average US elementary school can recycle over 203,000 cartons, which would save over 4,470 pounds (2,027.55 kg) of paper and 38 trees. Recycling those 203,000 cartons would also keep 1,068 full trash bags out of landfill. Combined, all the elementary schools in the US could recycle 4.8 billion milk and juice cartons in one year. Stacked end to end, these cartons would circle the entire earth 12.6 times. (Carton Council US School Guide prepared by Environmental Impact Initiative, 2010)
  • The automobile is the most recycled consumer product in the world today. It takes about 45 seconds to shred the average automobile into fist-sized pieces for recycling. (Clean Air Foundation)
  • The first PET (plastic) bottle was recycled in 1977. (The National Association of PET Container Resources)
  • A 600-watt photocopier left on standby for 24 hours a day uses about $750 of electricity in a year. If this machine is turned on only during normal working hours, two thirds of this electricity will be saved. (New Zealand Ministry for the Environment)
  • Water is a limited resource that we need to use wisely. Only 1% of the world’s water supply is usable, 97% is ocean and 2% is ice frozen at the poles. (Environment Canada)
  • Nearly 55% of every aluminium can is made from recycled aluminium. (American Recycler)
  • Recycling one tonne of newspaper saves 19 trees, 3 cubic metres of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatt hours of energy, 29,000 litres of water and 30 kgs of air pollution. (Recycling Council of Ontario)
  • 25% of the energy used to manufacture cardboard is saved when the cardboard is recycled. (The Eco-Efficiency Centre)

Facts about Recycling

Paper:

  • Manufacturing recycled paper produces 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution, as well as using 58% less water and 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp
  • 42% of material we (Whitehorse) throw in our landfill each year is wood or wood products
  • 1 edition of the Sunday New York Times consumes about 75,000 trees
  • 1 tonne of recycled paper saves 3700 pounds of lumber and 24,000 gallons of water
  • Making one tonne of recycled paper uses only about 60% of the energy needed to make a tonne of virgin paper

Energy:

  • Recycling aluminum (the highest theoretical potential for saving energy) saves 95%.
  • Recycling glass — energy savings of 33%
  • Recycling paper — energy savings of 64%
  • Energy savings per tonne of finished plastic bottles is enough to fill a 20-gallon gas tank every week for ten years
  • Recycling a glass jar saves enough energy to light a bulb for four hours
  • Recycling old corrugated cardboard cuts sulfur dioxide emissions in half and saves 1/4 of the energy used to manufacture it
  • By recycling one tonne of paper you save: 17 trees, 6953 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, 583 pounds of air pollution
  • It takes 95% less energy to produce new aluminum from discarded aluminum pop cans than from raw materials
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves the amount of energy to light one 100 watt bulb for 20 hours or run a TV for 3 hours

Glass:

  • Making glass from recycled materials cuts related air pollution 20% and water pollution 50%

Plastics/Aluminum:

  • Recycling plastics and aluminum uses only 5% to 10% as much energy as making new plastic or smelting aluminum
  • Recycling a tonne of PET containers saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 5 PET bottles yield enough fiber for an XL T-shirt

Organics:

  • Canadians produce approximately 7 million tonnes of organic waste each year
  • 2/3 of our household waste can be composted

Miscellaneous:

  • 5 billion drink boxes are thrown away each year in North America
  • North America has 8% of the world’s population, consumes 1/3 of the world’s resources and produces almost half of the world’s non-organic garbage
  • 70% of landfilled waste could be either reused or recycled
  • 1 litre of oil can contaminate a million litres of ground water
  • In North America, approximately 20% of our paper, plastic, glass and metal goods are currently made from recycled material. Experts believe that 50% could be easily achieved

Packaging:

  • Approximately 35% of municipal solid waste is packaging
  • In the U.S., 5.6% of all steel, 50% of all paper, 65-70% of all glass, 25-30% of all aluminium, and 23.5% of all plastics produced are used for packaging
  • $1 out of every $10 spent on food goes into packaging


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