63% of members are saving with this action!

Save up to 1,090 kg / 2,398 lbs CO2 per year!

Recycling has proven itself to be a cost-effective method of reducing waste and increasing resource utilization efficiency. Recycling did require significant tax subsidies during the early years, but now most types of material have reached at least cost-neutrality and some are profitable. Further, there is significant full life-cycle CO2 emission reduction with recycled products.

As an example, in the US the national average rate of recycling of all materials is over 30%. This is about 91 million tons of material per year. Reports indicate this reduces enough CO2 to have removed approximately 39 million cars from the road each year, which is about 101 million tons of CO2.

Considering the impact and low effort, it makes sense to recycle all the metals, papers, glass and plastic that we consume.

Recycling Facts

  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% energy compared to new aluminum
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours
  • Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water
  • Paper made from recycled paper uses 70% less energy
  • The energy saved by recycling just one glass bottle could light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours
  • Recycling plastic uses half the energy required to burn it

Benefits and costs

Annual CO2 Savings500 - 1,090 kg
1,100 - 2,398 lbs
Annual Cash Savings$0 - $0
Initial Cost$0 - $0
Time to pay for itself0.0 - 0.0 years
CO2 saved per year per initial dollar invested500.00 - 1090.00 kg

* These value ranges were taken from many sources including product documentation, published reports, and the reference material linked here.

If everyone did this ...

If every household in the US did this, it could save a collective 143,880,000 tons of CO2 per year!

This would be equivalent to:

  • Taking 28,211,765 cars off the road for a year
  • Producing 10,818,045 tons of Beef

Visit How Much CO2 Is That? for more information.

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What's the Most Recycled Product in the U.S.?

"The most recycled product? It's not aluminum cans: only half are recycled. Or even office paper, at more than 70 percent."

Paper or Plastic?

A great diagram with lots of detail on the full production cycle of plastic and paper bags.

Composting Info Sheet

A good source of data for GHG reductions for individuals and families.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost - why it's important!

A good list of ideas, stats on reductions, and links to good sources.

What do those recycling numbers mean?

Each recycling number code and the items that fit into each category.

The Freecycle Network

Freecycle is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

The truth about recycling

As the importance of recycling becomes more apparent, questions about it linger. Is it worth the effort? How does it work? Is recycling waste just going into a landfill in China? Here are some answers.

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