75+ Facts on Recycling! Plastics, Paper, Aluminum, Glass, Metals and More

75+ Facts on Recycling

Recycling is a simple, yet effective, way through which we can contribute to make Earth a better place to live. Recycling is a way through which we convert waste products, which we have used before, into new materials and objects.

This way, we can help to preserve our planet’s natural resources and prevent them from becoming exhausted. 

Waste Hierarchy

Recycling is a part of “waste hierarchy”. This is a priority of actions that helps to reduce the amount of waste material generated and generally improves the waste management processes and programs.

Waste Hierarchy; 3Rs of Sustainability.
3 R’s of Waste Hierarchy.

The waste hierarchy is built upon 3 Rs:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

These are said to be the “three R’s” of waste management that help in guiding use of materials to create a sustainable life.

Recycling is crucial, especially in today’s world when massive landfills are pilling up and climate change is causing more havoc than ever. It allows us to be more sustainable and protect our planet’s natural assets, securing it for future generations.

It also brings about a sense of responsibility within us and helps us raise awareness regarding the importance of recycling.

Thankfully, more and more people are now taking part in the process of recycling. Some enjoy doing it while others are pushed to do it. Either way, it is going to make a difference to our environment. More people should be encouraged towards practicing recycling. 

75+ Fun Facts on Recycling

General Facts on Recycling

Fact 1: The recycling symbol involves Mobius loops made of three arrows coming together and changing directions to form a triangle. It was designed by Gary Anderson, a 23 year old student, in 1960s.

Recycling Symbol
Recycling Symbol made by Gary Anderson in 1960s.

Fact 2: Every year Americans generate waste that accounts for 200 million tons. This is enough to fill a large major-league baseball stadium (Busch stadium) from top to bottom twice every single day.

Fact 3: The energy used to create and distribute junk mail in the United States of America for a single day can be used to provide heat for 250,000 homes in the country.

Fact 4: Landfills that are used to store the waste that we create accounts for the biggest contributor to soil pollution. 80% of the items buried in landfills could be recycled. Just remember to put recyclable objects in the recycling bin – How hard is that?

Fact 5: The environmental protection agency (EPA) has estimated that about 75% of American waste is recyclable. Still, Americans can only go onto recycle 30% of it.

Fact 6: A one-second drip from a leaky faucet wastes 540 gallons of water a year.

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Fact 7: 60% of home garbage thrown in the dustbin could be recycled.

Fact 8: Motor oil never wears out and can be reused again and again for different purposes.

Fact 9: The leading countries when it comes to recycling are 1) Switzerland, 2) Australia, 3) Germany.

Fact 10: The leading cities of United States when it comes to recycling are: 1) San Francisco, 2) Boston, 3) Chicago, 4) Denver, 5) Portland. 

Fact 11: Disposable diapers are the most thrown away products in the United States.

Fact 12: Other commonly-found products include tires, razor blades, pens, and aluminum. All of these products can be easily recycled.

Fact 13: $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging is thrown out in the United States every year.

Fact 14: Most people are producing 4.4 pounds of trash every day. This will result in 1.5 tons of solid waste annually.

Fact 15: Organic garbage could be composted and recycled to use as fertilizer for the ground. This would be better than letting it act as a pollutant.

Food waste should be recycled and composted.
Food waste Recycling involves composting. You can add compost to your backyard and liven your garden’s fertility.

Fact 16: In United States, Nine-Tenths of all solid waste does not get recycled.

Fact 17: A well-known recycling fact; 9 out of 10 individuals say that they will adopt recycling only if it was easier for them.

Fact 18: United States makes up to 22 million tons of food waste each year. If this food waste was composted; it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions similar to removing 2 million gas-driven cars off the road.

Interesting Facts on Recycling Plastic

Different types of plastic recycled today.
Different forms of Plastic waste than can be recycled today!

Fact 19: Recycling plastic saves twice the energy it would take us to burn it.

Fact 20: It only requires crushing five recycled plastic bottles to make enough fiberfill to stuff a ski jacket.

Fact 21: Recycling a single plastic bottle will help us save enough energy to power 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.

Plastic bottle recycling facts

Fact 22: Every 30 minutes, Americans use 2.5 million bottles of plastic with only 1 in 4 of these plastic bottles being recycled in the 1990s.

Fact 23: Recycling a ton of plastic waste will save more than 2,000 gallons of gasoline.

Fact 24: Plastic bags and garbage thrown into the ocean can have detrimental effects on marine life.

Fact 25: Discarded plastic bags in the ocean are said to kill more than a million sea creatures annually.

Fact 26: 18 billion pounds of plastic trash is reported to wind up in the oceans of our planet each year. This is enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world.

Fact 27: There are 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean.

Fact 28: It takes 500 years for an average-sized plastic bottle to decompose completely.

Fact 29: EPA estimated plastic containers and packaging to make up 5% of America’s municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2018. This was 14.5 million tons of plastic waste.

Fun Facts on Recycling Paper

Fact 30: Every American is estimated to use around 680 pounds of paper annually.

Fact 31: Preventing use of 2000 pounds of paper can help us save 17 trees, 350 gallons of oil, and a ton of landfill space.

Fact 32: Paper recycling has improved by up to 90% from 1990 to 2010. Paper-based waste has decreased more than 20% during 2000-2012.

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Fact 33: 400 billion photocopies are made by American every year. That is nearly 750,000 copies every minute!

Fact 34: A trillion pages of paper are equivalent to 8.5 million acres of trees.

Fact 35: 62 million newspapers are printed daily in the United States.  44 million of these will be thrown away.

Fact 36: The amount of paper that is wasted every year is sufficient enough to heat 50 million houses for two decades.

Fact 37: If 1/10th of all Americans started to recycled paper, 25 million trees would be saved each year. Interestingly, more than 87% of Americans have close access to paper recycling programs.

Fact 38: Each American uses around seven trees each year. This is through products like wood, paper and other forest products. This amounts to all Americans cutting down over 2 trillion trees throughout the year!

Fact 39: An average American working in an office goes through 500 disposable cups annually.

Fact 40: Although recycled paper uses 1/3 of paper fibers from scrap paper, it’s still a significant saving.

Fact 41: Recycling paper at an industrial level involves up to 9 steps! However, paper recycling process is relatively easy and you can do it too!

Fun Facts on Recycling Aluminum

Fact 42: Aluminum first entered mainstream US markets in early 1900s to be used as aluminum foil.

Fact 43: Aluminum can be recycled over and over again without any loss in properties.

Fact 44: 80 billion Aluminum cans are used globally every year.

Fact 45: In 3 months, the amount of aluminum thrown by Americans can be used to rebuild all of the country’s commercial air fleets!

Fact 46:Aluminium is the number #1 recycled material!

Fact 47:Aluminium is said to make less than 1% of waste in the United States.

Fact 48: Recycling aluminum is 95% more energy efficient than manufacturing new aluminum from raw materials. This makes the recycling process of aluminum both economically and environmentally feasible.

Fact 49: Recycled aluminum can be repurposed for use and back in store shelves within 60 days.

Fact 50: Aluminum beverage cans have 68% recycled content, which is highest of all beverage cans.

Fact 51: In 2018, recycling rate of aluminum was almost 35%. This included food and beverage containers, aluminum foil and other forms of packaging. Among these recyclables, soda cans made a huge chunk of 50.4%!

Fact 52: Americans can save 3 billion dollars of energy cost every year, just by recycling ALL aluminium cans.

Facts About Recycling Glass

Fact 53: Modern Glass bottles are expected to take around 4,000 years to decompose!

Fact 54: Glass can be fully recycled and used repeatedly, just like aluminum. Even recycled glass retains most of its properties like aluminum.

Fact 55: Glass recycling is done separately for every color. This is because glass can retain color even after recycling.

Glass is recycled according to color.

Fact 56: Even glass jars can be recycled!

Fact 57: 80% of glass containers being recovered from recycling are re-melted in a furnace to manufacture new glass containers. Just remember to have your glass container recycled rather than thrown away.

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Fact 58: Recyclable glass can be a substitute for up to 95% of all raw materials.

Fact 59: Glass manufacturing companies are working on ways to achieve 50% recycled content in a new glass bottle.

Interesting Facts About Recycling Metal

Fact 60: Steel Industry is recycling up to 20 billion steel cans into new products. This equals 600 steel cans being recycled every second.

Fact 61: Just one year of recycling steel saves enough energy to supply electricity to Los Angeles, California for the next ten years.

Fact 62: Every ton of recycled steel saves raw material, more specifically; 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal with 120 pounds of limestone. This also saves money!

Fact 63: Sunday Newspapers are responsible for cutting down half a million trees every week.

Fact 64: Recycling a day’s New York Times can save us more than 75,000 trees.

Fact 65: Recycling all newspaper might save us more than 250 million trees every year.

Fact 66: We’re cutting down 100 acres of rainforest every minute!

Interesting Facts about Recycling Cardboard

Recycling Facts about Cardboard

Fact 67: We are manufacturing 100 billion cardboard boxes every year; most of it is used for packaging only!

Fact 68: More than 90% orders are shipped in the US with corrugated boxes. This amounts to 400 billionft2 of cardboard.

Fact 69: On average, 70% of corrugated cardboard is recovered for recycling.

Fact 70: Thankfully, 80% of retailers actually recycle their cardboard boxes.

Fact 71: Recycling cardboard reduces energy requirements by 75%, as compared to making new cardboard from raw material.

Fact 72: Recycling 1 ton cardboard saves us more than 45 gallons of oil.

Fact 73: Recycling 1 ton of cardboard also saves unnecessary use of 9 cubic yards of landfill area. It may not seem a lot, but that is unnecessary loss of space.

Fact 74: Recycling conserves energy use. As a result, fewer greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere.

Fact 75: Recycling allows us to save natural resources like coal, oil and natural gas.

Fact 76: Recycled paper would have 70% lower environmental footprint as compared to paper made from raw materials.

Electronic Waste Recycling

Fact 77: In 2007, 1.8 million tons of electronic waste including radios, phones, and iPods were found in landfills. We can only imagine this has grown overtime.

Fact 78: Electronics are very commonly used and wasted by Americans. They account for more than 2% of all waste stream in US.


Start recycling today!

As you may have noticed from the vast amounts of facts we’ve thrown your way, there is an incredible amount of information on recycling out there. If you’ve never thought of recycling or it’s practices; 2021 would be a good time to start.

The year 2020 has shown us that there are limits to how much you can meddle with nature. It has also shown us that we don’t care about nature as much as we should. Recycling can be the perfect addition to your new year resolutions!

Recycling is one of those actions that will help you save lots of money throughout the year and make you more kind towards the environment.

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