Washington County Solid Waste

Recycling Facts


  • Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours or a tv for 2 hours.
  • The aluminum beverage can returns to the grocer’s shelf as a new, filled can in as little as 90 days after collection, remelting, rolling, manufacturing and distribution.
  • An average of 113,204 aluminum cans are recycled every minute of every day.
  • Recycling one ton of aluminum saves 37 barrels of oil.
  • Recycling 125 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power one home for 1 day.
  • It takes 4 tons of ore to produce one ton of aluminum.


  • It takes approximately 1 million years for a glass bottle to break down in a landfill.
  • In the U.S. today, 34% of all glass containers are recycled.
  • Most bottles and jars contain at least 25% recycled glass.
  • Glass never wears out – it can be recycled forever.
  • Recycling glass saves 25-32% of the energy used to make glass.
  • Glass containers save 9 gallons of fuel (oil) for every ton of glass recycled.


  • Americans use over 67,000,000 tons of paper each year, or 600 pounds per person.
  • It takes more than 500,000 trees to produce the newspapers Americans read each Sunday, yet only 30% of all newspapers are recycled.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, 7,000 gallons of water and 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity – enough energy to power the average American home for 5 months.
  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60% of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
  • Every day, Americans buy 62 million newspapers and throw out 44 million. That’s the equivalent of dumping 500,000 trees into a landfill every week.
  • If everyone in the U.S. recycled just 1/10th of their newsprint, we would save the estimated equivalent of about 25 million trees a year.
  • In the manufacturing process of recycled paper
  • 74% less air pollution is generated
  • 35% less water pollution is generated
  • 58% less water is required
  • 64% less energy is required
  • One ton of high-grade recyclable paper can substitute for approximately 3 tons of wood in making new paper products.
  • Every year more than 900 million trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.


  • Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down in a landfill.
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
  • For every 7 trucks needed to deliver paper grocery bags to the store, only 1 is needed to carry the same number of plastic grocery bags.
  • By using plastic in packaging, American product manufacturers save enough energy each year to power a city of 1 million homes for 3 _ years.
  • As much as 40% of selected plastic parts from damaged or discarded cars are repaired and reused.
  • Over 1.5 billion pounds of post-consumer plastic bottles were recycled during 1999, accounting for 22% (by weight) of all plastic bottles produced in the U.S.
  • PET bottles (soda & water) and HDPE bottles (milk, laundry detergent) are the most commonly collected plastic materials in community recycling programs.
  • 95% of all plastic bottles in the U.S. market are manufactured from PET or HDPE. 56% of recycled PET finds a market in the manufacture of fiber (carpet & clothing). 29% of HDPE recycled bottles go into making new bottles and 18% goes into the plastic pipe industry.
  • Recycling 1 ton of plastic can save 1-2 thousand gallons of gas.
  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.


  • Recycling tin and steel cans saves between 60-74% of the energy used to produce them from raw materials.
  • 1 ton of recycled steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil, and 1.49 tons of iron ore over the production of new steel.
  • Steel cans were recycled at the rate of 58% in 2001.
  • The amount of steel recovered through recycled packaging in 2001 (nearly 1.5 million tons) would yield enough steel to build 185,000 steel framed homes.
  • In 2001, nearly 2 million tons of steel was recovered from recycled appliances.
  • The steel from the more than 39 million appliances recycled last year yielded enough steel to build about 160 stadiums the size of the new Pittsburgh Steelers stadium.
  • In 2001, there were 26 cars recycled every minute across the U.S.
  • Each year steel recycling saves the energy equivalent to electrically power about 1/5th of the households in the U.S. (or about 18 million homes) for 1 year.
  • Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone.
  • Annually, enough energy is saved by recycling steel to supply Los Angeles with electricity for almost 10 years.
  • You can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 new one.


  • Battery acid is recycled by converting it to sodium sulfate for laundry detergent, glass and textile manufacturing.


  • The average person throws away 4 pounds of garbage PER DAY.
  • Paper is the most common item found in our trash.
  • Product packaging accounts for 1/3 of our trash.
  • Solid waste disposal is the third largest municipal government expense after police protection and education.
  • The nation’s annual generation of municipal solid waste rose steadily from 88 million tons in 1960 to 232 million tons in 2002.
  • Recycling all of your home’s waste newsprint, cardboard, glass and metal can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 850 lbs. a year