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  Recycling Facts
  From Oberlin College, courtesy of GREEN LENT, a blog by by Ann Fontai


WATER
*Washing machines use about 15% of your house's water. Each wash cycle uses 32 to 59 gallons- as much as two showers.
*A standard shower head uses about 5-7 gallons of water per minute (gpm)- so even a 5-minute shower can consume 35 gallons!
*"Low-flow" shower heads help reduce water use by 50% or more. They typically cut the flow rate to 2.5 gpm- or less.
*Water pumping is one of the largest uses of electricity in the arid Western states. So every drop of water we conserve also saves electricity.
*Turn off the water faucet when brushing your teeth. This simple act can save 9 gallons of water every time you brush.
* The normal faucet flow is 3-5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). By attaching a low flow faucet aerator, you can reduce the flow by 50%. Incredibly, although the flow is reduced, it will seem stringer because air is mixed into the water as it leaves the tap.
*40% of the pure water you use in your house is flushed down the toilet.
*If a family of four takes 5-minute showers each day, they will use more than 700 gallons of water every week--the equivalent of a three-year supply of drinking water for one person.

ENERGY
*Every winter, the energy equivalent of all the oil that flows through the Alaskan pipeline in a year leaks through American windows.
*The average U.S. home uses the energy equivalent of 1,253 gallons of oil every year.
*Microwaves use around 50% less energy than conventional ovens; they're most efficient for small portions or defrosting.
*Every time you open your oven door during cooking, you lose 25 to 50 degrees- or more.
*Washers and dryers can account for as much as 25% of the energy you use at home (including the hot water for the wash).
*As much as 90% of the energy consumed by washing machines and 80% of the energy used by dishwashers goes to heating the water.
*During the winter, you can save as much as 3% of the energy your furnace uses simply by lowering your thermostat one degree F (if it's set between 65 F and 72 F).
*Dust on a light bulb or dirt on a glass fixture can reduce the light it gives off by 10 percent and make it seem that you need a brighter, higher wattage bulb.
*Even the paint color you choose can affect your energy use. A white wall reflects 80 percent of the light that hits it; a black one reflects just 10 percent. The more light the walls reflect, the greater the chance that the light can be 'recycled' by striking the wall, bouncing off, and still illuminating the room.
*A heated waterbed can use as much energy as a large refrigerator. Leaving it unmade in the fall or winter can double that by letting the heat dissipate into the air.
*You can save 10% or more of your heating or cooling costs by insulating and tightening up ducts.
*About 15% of the energy you use for heating your home goes to warming up air that leaks in through the cracks.
*Efficiency counts. The most effective new appliances typically use 50% less energy than the most wasteful ones.
*Choose a refrigerator with a freezer on top, instead of a side-by-side unit. On average, the savings amount to 20%.
*Between 15 and 30 percent of the energy your water heater uses goes to keeping a tank of water hot, just in case you need it.
*Even during a mild winter, you can lose as much energy through one single-pane window as a 75-watt light bulb uses running seven hours a day, 365 days a year.
*A double-pane window retains twice as much heat as a single-pane window.
*40% of the energy you use in your home is for heat.

PAPER
*1 ton of 100% virgin (non-recycled) newsprint uses 12 trees
*A "pallet" of copier paper (20-lb. sheet weight, or 20#) contains 40 cartons and weighs 1 ton.Therefore,
*1 carton (10 reams) of 100% virgin copier paper uses .6 trees
*1 tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets
*1 ream (500 sheets) uses 6% of a tree (and those add up quickly!)
*1 ton of coated, higher-end virgin magazine paper (used for magazines like National Geographic and many others) uses a little more than 15 trees (15.36)
*1 ton of coated, lower-end virgin magazine paper (used for newsmagazines and most catalogs) uses nearly 8 trees (7.68)
*At least 38.9% of the U.S. waste stream is paper.
*Americans throw away 44 million newspapers everyday. That’s the same as dumping 500,000 trees into landfills each week.
*If every household reused a paper grocery bag for one shopping trip, about 60,000 trees would be saved.
*We save 17 trees for each ton of recycled newspaper.
*Recycling a 36-newspaper stack saves the equivalent of about 14% of the average household electric bill.
*Making one ton of recycled paper uses only about 60% of the energy needed to make a tone of virgin paper.
*One person uses two pine trees worth of paper products every year.
*Americans discard 4 million tons of office paper every year--enough to build a 12 foot-high wall of paper from New York to California.
*American’s throw out about 85% of the office paper we use.
*Americans use 50 million tons of paper annually--which means we consume more than 850 million trees. That means the average American uses about 580 pounds of paper each year.
*Every ton of recycled office paper saves 380 gallons of oil.
*Each year, 27 million acres of tropical rainforests are destroyed. That’s an area the size of Ohio, and translates to 74,000 acres per day...3,000 acres per hour...50 acres per minute.

METAL

*We save enough energy by recycling one aluminum can to run a TV set for three hours.
*Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make one can out of new material. Energy savings in 1993 alone were enough to light a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years. .
*Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
*Recycling steel and tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to produce them.
* Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.
*Americans throw out enough iron and steel to supply all the nation’s automakers on a continuous basis.
*A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution and mining wastes by about 70%.
** When you toss out one aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the same can half-full of gasoline and poured it into the ground.

ALUMINUM CANS
*More than 50% of a new aluminum can is made from recycled aluminum.
*The 36 billion aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million. (Some day we'll be mining our landfills for the resources we've buried.)

GLASS
*Americans throw away enough glass bottles and jars every two weeks to fill the 1.350-foot towers of the former World Trade Center.
*Most bottles and jars contain at least 25% recycled glass.
*Glass never wears out -- it can be recycled forever. We save over a ton of resources for every ton of glass recycled -- 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar.
*States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.
*If all the glass bottles and jars collected through recycling in the U.S. in 94 were laid end to end, they'd reach the moon and half way back to earth.

PLASTIC
*Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.
*Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles every year.
*26 recycled PET bottles equals a polyester suit. 5 recycled PET bottles make enough fiberfill to stuff a ski jacket.
*In 1988 we used 2 billion pounds of HDPE just to make bottles for household products. That’s about the weight of 90,000 Honda Civics.
*If every American household recycled just one out of every ten HDPE bottles they used, we’d keep 200 million pounds of the plastic out of landfills every year.

STYROFOAM / POLYSTYRENE (# 6)
*It is un-recyclable- you can't make it into new Styrofoam. The industry wants you to assume it is- don't BUY it!
*Each year American throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups, enough every year to circle the earth 436 times.

JUNK MAIL
*If only 100,000 people stopped their junk, mail, we could save up to 150,000 trees annually. If a million people did this, we could save up to a million and a half trees.
*The junk mail Americans receive in one day could produce enough energy to heat 250,000 homes.
*The average American still spends 8 full months of his/her life opening junk mail.

NEWSPAPERS
*Every day America cuts down two million trees-but throws away about 42 million newspapers. That means the equivalent of about 500,000 trees is dumped into landfills every week.
*If everyone who subscribes to the New York Times recycled, we’d keep over 6,000 tons of pollution out of the air.
*It takes an entire forest--over 500,000 trees to supply Americans with their Sunday newspapers every week.

LIGHTBULBS
*Every year Americans buy over a billion incandescent lightbulbs. That’s three acres of bulbs every day.
*A 60-watt incandescent bulb lasts about 750 hours; a fluorescent bulb with 1/3 the wattage will generate the same light and burn for 7,500 to 10,000 hours in five to ten years of normal use.
*Substituting a compact fluorescent light for a traditional bulb will keep a half-ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.