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Just in time for America Recycles Day, the EPA reports:
- Americans in 2006 recycled and composted 82 million tons (about 32.5 percent) in 2006.
- A total of 251 million tons of municipal solid waste generated.
- Of the 4.6 pounds of waste each American generates every day, 1.5 pounds were recycled.
- In addition, approximately 31 million tons of municipal solid waste was combusted for energy recovery in 2006.
With large numbers like those, you are encouraged to recycle more than aluminum cans and those empty water bottles that have been in the news so often lately. American Recycles Day is an effort by the EPA to get Americans think and learn about recycling.
After all, recycling helps everyone reduce climate change, save energy, and conserve natural resources. For example:
- Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline.
- Using recycled materials instead of new materials saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Using recycled glass instead of new materials consumes 40 percent less energy.
Recycling reduces costs to businesses and creates jobs. According to the EPA:
- The American recycling and reuse industry is a $200 billion dollar enterprise.
- There are more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments.
- Recycling-related businesses employ more than 1 million people.
- Recycling businesses generate an annual payroll of approximately $37 billion.