Recycling as much as possible, not just your scrap metal is important!
Recycling has doubled over the last decade, but it isn’t enough. The United States is the world’s largest trash producing country at 1,609 pounds of trash per person per year. We represent just 5% of the world’s populaton, but we are generating 40% of the world’s waste & we are only recycling 28% of that waste.
We can do better.
Recycling benefits not only the environment but our economy! Recycling creates 36 jobs per 10,000 tons of material recycled compared to 6 jobs for every 10,000 tons brought to traditional disposal facilities. On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill and $65 – $75 to incinerate it. Whereas, the recycling of a single pound of steel saves enough energy to light a 60watt bulb for more than a day. So, in one year in the United States, the recycling of steel (approximately 190,400,000,000lbs/yr) saves enough energy (11,424,000,000,000 watts) to power the computers in 78 million homes for over a year!!!!
For example, 95% of the energy it takes to manufacture a new aluminum can is saved by recycling an old one!! One single solitary aluminum can recycled saves enough energy to power a television for over 3 hours!
When one tonne of aluminium is recycled, carbon emissions are reduced by a staggering 7.9 tonnes.
AND aluminum cans can be recycled infinitely and made back into cans, pie pans, house siding, gutters, car parts, small appliances and lawn furniture; all of which can also be recycled over&over again. Americans throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet!
It takes 30 cans to make 1 pound of aluminum. When we make a 1000-1300lb bale, it may contain as many as 43,000 aluminum cans!
Recycling Scrap Metal Facts
- Almost 40% of the world’s demand for copper is met using recycled material.
- The United States recycles 150 million metric tons of scrap materials annually, including 85 million tons of iron and steel, 5.5 million tons of aluminum, 1.8 million tons of copper, 2 million tons of stainless steel, 1.2 million tons of lead and 420,000 tons of zinc, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).
- Recycling scrap metal reduces greenhouse gas emissions and uses less energy than making metal from virgin ore. The amount of energy saved using various recycled metals compared to virgin ore is up to:
— 92 percent for aluminum
— 90 percent for copper
— 56 percent for steel
- Metal recycling also conserves natural resources. Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone. Recyling a ton of aluminum conserves up to 8 tons of bauxite ore and 14 megawatt hours of electricity.
- Sixty-eight percent of people with out-of service computers don’t know how to dispose of them, so they keep them. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 235 million out-of-use computers clutter attics, basements and spare rooms.
- Approximately 18 percent of discarded computers are recycled, and this is the only safe way to dispose of out-of-service computers. According to the EPA, over 48 million computers were recycled in 2007, creating several positive effects:
- According to the IAI, approximately 75 percent of the 700 million tons of aluminum manufactured internationally since industrial production started in the late 1800s is still in use.
- By 2009 computers and other e-waste accounted for 40 percent of the lead and 70 percent of heavy metals found in landfills. Each year e-waste grows 300 percent faster than other forms of waste.
- Over 144,000 tons of lead were recovered.
- The amount of gold extracted from one metric ton of electronic waste (e-waste) was equivalent to the amount extracted from 17 metric tons of gold ore.
- Over 12 million tons of fossil fuels were saved. Building a new computer from recycled materials consumes only ten percent of the energy required to build the same computer from raw materials.
- Recycling allows materials to be re-used, and re-using materials creates new jobs. A study from the Institute for Self-Reliance reports for every ten thousand tons of reused materials 296 jobs are created.