5 Compelling Facts About Recycling


Do you recycle? According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, only 32% of Americans recycle, which is less than a seven percent increase since 1960. The Environmental Performance Index provided by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy ranks the United States 105 out of 179 countries with a score of 14.80. A score of 100 indicates that a country recycles all recyclable post-consumer materials while a 0 indicates no recycling takes place. South Korea has a score of 67.10, making it the top country. It is clear that America has a long way to go in recycling efforts! The first step towards change is awareness. We have gathered 5 recycling facts to educate and empower readers:

5 Recycling Facts

    1. If the United States reached recycling levels of 75%, it would be the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year. (source) Not only that, it would create 1.5 million new jobs!
    1. Maine has the highest rate of recycling at 74%. (source) The worst state at recycling is Alaska with a recycling rate of only 16%. Mississippi is the worst contiguous U.S. state with a rate of 17%.
    1. Cardboard can be recycled at least seven times and can be used to make new packaging and even furniture. (source) The wonderful thing is recycling cardboard is easy! Most Americans have access to cardboard recycling opportunities. Just make sure the material is flattened, dry, and mostly clean. Another benefit is recycling cardboard only takes about 75% of the energy used to make new cardboard.
    1. The average person generates 4 pounds of trash daily and about 1.5 tons of solid waste annually. (source) The EPA estimates around 75% of the American waste stream could be recycled, so a lot could be done to reduce waste.
    1. To produce each week’s Sunday newspaper, 500,000 trees are cut down. (source) If Americans recycled all of their newspapers, 250 million trees could be saved each year! The average American uses seven trees each year, amounting to 2 billion trees. 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away each year. Consider these tips for reducing paper waste to help save some trees!

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