The United States produces approximately 220 million tons of garbage each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This is equivalent to burying over 82,000 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage.
Mississippi's contribution to the solid waste problem is approximately 2.6 million tons of garbage annually or 13 million pounds per day. This is equivalent to burying 550 football fields six feet deep in compacted garbage.
Our garbage is made up of the following materials: 41% paper, 18% yard waste, 9% metals, 8% glass, 8% food waste, 7% plastic, and 9% other.
Approximately 65% of the garbage in the United States was buried in landfills, while 20% was recycled and 15% was incinerated.
Approximately 40 to 65% of our waste stream is recyclable.
One ton of recycled aluminum saves 14,000 Kwh of energy, 40 barrels (1,663 gallons) of oil, 238 million Btu's of energy and 10 cubic yards of landfill space.
Recycling aluminum takes 95% less energy than making aluminum from raw materials.
Each aluminum can recycled saves enough electricity to light a 100 watt bulb for 3.5 hours.
Two out of three aluminum cans are recycled in the United States each year.
The aluminum industry is helping to conserve aluminum resources through a process called lightweighting. Lightweighting is the process of using less materials in the construction of a product. In 1972 it took 22 cans to make a pound, but today it takes 32 cans to make a pound.
Aluminum cans and aluminum scrap are recycled into new aluminum products including airplanes, cars, and more soda cans.
Corrugated Container Facts
One ton of recycled corrugated containers saves 390 Kwh of energy, 1.1 barrels (46 gallons) of oil, 6.6 million Btu's of energy, and 6.6 cubic yards of landfill space.
Recycled corrugated containers saves 24% of the total energy needed to manufacture corrugated containers from trees.
The majority of corrugated containers that are recycled are manufactured into more corrugated containers.
One ton of recycled glass saves 42 Kwh of energy, 0.12 barrels (5 gallons) of oil, 714,000 Btu's of energy, 7.5 pounds of air pollutants from being released, and 2 cubic yards of landfill space.
Glass is 100% recyclable. Over 30% of the raw material used in glass production now comes from recycled glass.
The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours.
Recycling glass saves 30% of the energy required when producing glass from raw materials (soda ash, sand and limestone). Crushed glass or cullet melts at a lower temperature than the raw materials which saves energy.
Refillable glass bottles use 19,000 Btu's of energy as compared to 38,000 Btu's used by throwaway bottles.
One ton of recycled newsprint saves 601 Kwh of energy, 1.7 barrels (71 gallons) of oil, 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.
One ton of recycled office paper saves 4,100 Kwh of energy, 9 barrels (380 gallons) 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.
Recycling newsprint saves 34% to 60% of the total energy needed for virgin newsprint.
About 10 million tons of newsprint is thrown away each year in the United States.
Around 4.5 million tons of office paper is thrown away each year in the United States. This is enough paper to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from Los Angeles to New York City.
Annually each person in the United States use paper equivalent to 2 pine trees.
Newsprint is recycled into newspapers, paper egg cartons, cereal boxes, cellulose insulation and acoustical ceiling tiles.
One ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 Kwh of energy, 16.3 barrels (685 gallons) of oil, 98 million Btu's of energy, and 30 cubic yards of landfill space.
Approximately 88% of the energy is saved by producing plastic from plastic as opposed to plastic from the raw materials of oil and gas.
The United States goes through 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and only a small percentage is recycled.
Enough plastic bottles are thrown away each year in the United States to circle the earth four times.
Over 35% of the polyester carpet made and sold in the United States contains PET plastic. It takes 35 PET plastic bottles to make one square yard of polyester carpet.
Plastic containers are recycled into plastic lumber for picnic tables and park benches, carpet fiber, clothing, automotive parts, paint brushes, and more plastic bottles.
Recycling one ton of steel saves 642 Kwh of energy, 1.8 barrels (76 gallons) of oil, 10.9 million Btu's of energy and 4 cubic yards of landfill space.
The United States throws away enough iron and steel to continuously supply all the nations automakers.
The average household throws away two pounds of steel per week which if recycled would save enough energy to keep a 60 watt bulb burning for two days.
Steel recycling results in 74% savings in energy, 90% savings in virgin materials, 86% reduction in air pollution, 40% reduction in water use, 76% reduction in water pollution and 97% reduction in mining wastes.
Steel cans and steel scrap are recycled into new steel products including structural steel, bolts and nuts, coat hangers, and more steel cans
Used Motor Oil
Used motor oil is recycled into re-refined motor oil or fuel blended with other fuels to be burned in industrial boilers for energy.