2011 44¢ Recycle More
Issue Date: April 14, 2011
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
What does it matter if someone recycles one aluminum can? Quite a lot! A single aluminum can will last 500 years or more in a landfill, so it makes a lot of sense to use the materials from the same can over and over. Recycling an aluminum can saves 95% of the energy needed to create a new one, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While materials like aluminum and steel provide for highly efficient recycling, the process in general offers substantial benefits.
According to a 2009 EPA report, each person produces 4.34 pounds of waste daily. Called “municipal solid waste” (MSW), or trash, over half ends up in landfills. The good news is there has been a dramatic increase in recycling. From 1990 to 2009, recycling of MSW has risen from 15% to 34%.
Recycling reduces the consumption of natural resources, and also limits the amount of land needed for landfills. There are other practical reasons. The 82 million tons of MSW recovered by recycling and composting in 2009 saved energy equal to 224 million barrels of oil. In an era of ever-rising gas prices, that represents a substantial savings.
As recycling becomes more popular, its benefits will continue to increase, both in money saved and as a positive impact on the environment.