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Benefits of Recycling


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OP: Piece of Cake

Q: Can recycling save energy?

A: Yes it can! Here’s some fun facts from CalRecycle to show you how!

If you look at the big picture of what it takes to create a product from scratch -- to get the raw materials, transport them, process them and manufacture them -- making goods with recycled material like paper, plastic, glass, and metal is a major energy saver.

Seattle economist Jeffrey Morris estimated that manufacturing one ton of office and computer paper with recycled paper stock can save nearly 3,000 kilowatt hours over the same ton of paper made with virgin wood products.

A ton of soda cans made with recycled aluminum saves an amazing 21,000 kilowatt hours by reducing the virgin bauxite (bozite) ore that would have to be mined, shipped, and refined. That’s a 95% energy savings.

A ton of PET plastic containers made with recycled plastic conserves about 7,200 kilowatt hours.

The San Diego County Office of Education has figured out that recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for four hours.

The Steel Recycling Institute has found that steel recycling saves enough energy to electrically power the equilvalent of 18 million homes for a year.

With all the energy that is saved when we recycle bottles and cans and paper, we should all recycle and buy recycled more often!

Q: How much energy is saved by recycling?

A: The amount of lost energy from throwing away recyclable commodities such as aluminum cans and newspapers is equivalent to the annual output of 15 power plants. The energy savings applies to all recycling sectors:

Aluminum. Recycling of aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source. One ton of recycled aluminum saves 14,000 kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy, 40 barrels of oil, 130. 152.32 million BTU's of energy, and 10 cubic yards of landfill space.

Newsprint. One ton of recycled newsprint saves 601 Kwh of energy, 1.7 barrels of oil (71 gallons), 10.2 million BTU's of energy, 60 pounds of air pollutants from being released, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4.6 cubic yards of landfill space.

Office Paper. One ton of recycled office paper saves 4,100 Kwh of energy, 9 barrels of oil, 54 million BTU's of energy, 60 pounds of air pollutants from being released, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

Plastic. One ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 Kwh of energy, 16.3 barrels of oil, 98 million BTU's of energy, and 30 cubic yards of landfill space.

Steel. One ton of recycled steel saves 642 Kwh of energy, 1.8 barrels of oil, 10.9 million BTU's of energy, and 4 cubic yards of landfill space.

Glass. One ton of recycled glass saves 42 Kwh of energy, 0.12 barrels of oil (5 gallons), 714,000 BTU's of energy, 7.5 pounds of air pollutants from being released, and 2 cubic yards of landfill space. Over 30% of the raw material used in glass production now comes from recycled glass.

As you can see, by recycling you are saving energy in addition to conserving resources and reducing pollution!

Source: EPA WARM

Q: How much energy is in a can?

A: Last year alone, recycling bottles and cans saved enough energy to power up to 522,000 homes in California.

Energy drinks are all the rage, and in recent years beverages that invigorate consumers have flooded the marketplace. What many people might not realize is that the same bottles and cans that provide them with energy beverages could actually save the kind of energy needed to power their homes and televisions.

How much energy? In 2004, the 12 billion bottles and cans recycled by Californians saved the equivalent of enough energy to power up to 522,000 homes, according to CalRecycle calculations. It takes 95 percent less energy to make an aluminum can from recycled aluminum than from processing bauxite ore, and glass furnaces can run at lower temperatures when using recycled glass, thereby saving energy and extending equipment life.

To help Californians find the recycling bin instead of the trash can, CalRecycle has some simple tips for bottle and can recycling:

• Own a business or work in an office building, gym, school, restaurant or other location where people dispose of CRV containers? Order a free “Recycling Starter Kit” at www.bottlesandcans.com

• On the go? Hold onto your empty beverage containers until you find a recycling bin. Keep an extra bag or box in your car so that you can collect your beverage containers without having them roll around in your car.

• Throwing a party? Set up a separate bag or box for recyclable beverage containers only. Later, redeem them for cash or put them in your curbside recycling bin.

For more information about this press release and other CRV beverage container recycling related programs, please contact the CalRecycle.

Source: https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-benefits-recycling

Colin Parkinson

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Yet rarely does recycling pay for itself, because the people doing the recycling do not get the energy benefit.