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Nova Southeastern University
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Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
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Recycling Statistics and Facts


Recycling statistics on paper

  • Forests are being cut and trees are being felled at an unimaginable rate of 100 acres per minute. All this to produce paper which is normally used and disposed without much thought.
  • A plant takes a minimum of 15 to 20 years to grow into a tree, but takes less than ten minutes to be felled, and on an average one tree can yield about 700 paper grocery bags, which will be consumed in less than an hour by a supermarket
  • According to The Public Recycling Officials of Pennsylvania, for every ton of paper that is recycled, the following are saved:

17 trees
275 pounds of sulfur
350 pounds of limestone 
9,000 pounds of steam
60,000 gallons of water
225 kilowatt hours
3.3 cubic yards of landfill space

  • Energy used to recycle paper is close to 70% less than when paper is prepared using virgin wood and other raw material.
  • Recycling 14 trees worth of paper reduces air pollutants by 165,142 tons.
  • Read more facts about recycling paper.

Recycling statistics on plastic

  • Almost every hour, nearly 250,000 plastic bottles are dumped. It is not surprising that plastic bottles constitute close to 50% of recyclable waste in the dumps.
  • The average time taken by plastic bottles to decompose in a landfill is close to 700 years.
  • Plastic not only adds to landfill space and takes forever to decompose. Used plastic dumped into the sea kills and destroys sea life at an estimated 1,000,000 sea creatures per year!
  • Read more about recycling plastic.

Recycling statistics on glass

  • Glass is one of the very few products that can be completely recycled again and again. But most often times, it ends up in landfills and never decomposes.
  • There is an increased demand for recycled glass referred to as “cullet” in the glass industry. This is because cullet or recycled glass costs much less than raw material used to manufacture glass from scratch. Cullet also consumes very little electricity, thereby conserving energy, which translates to decrease in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which are greenhouse gases that contribute to the carbon footprint.
  • Glass and plastic take the longest to decompose but are completely recyclable, therefore, it is important to purchase, recycle, and reuse both glass and plastic products. If one can replace both these with any other recyclable or biodegradable products one must certainly invest in the same!
  • Read more about recycling glass.

Recycling statistics on styrofoam

  • A Styrofoam coffee cup discarded today will remain in landfill space for close to 500 years. This is because it does not get decomposed easily, ie. it is not bio-degradable. Therefore, it is advisable to say, “No,” to Styrofoam products. Read more about recycling styrofoam.

Fact on recycling water

  • The most abused and wasted natural resource is water.
  • Water is a very precious resource and needs to be used carefully. There are several countries in the world, where people still do not have clean drinking water. Therefore, one must use water carefully and in moderation. Read more about how water is recycled.