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Garbage: What’s the Big Deal?
- The United States produces the most trash per person in the world.
- Every month Americans throw away enough glass to fill an entire skyscraper.
- Americans throw away over 2 million plastic bottles every hour.
Scientists Find “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”
- The majority of plastic bottles we use are made from PET plastic, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate.
- It takes over 1 million years for a plastic bottle or jar to decompose.
- In 2009, only 28% of PET bottles and jars were recycled in the United States.
- Plastic thrown into the Pacific Ocean has formed a “garbage patch” twice the size of Texas.
- The energy saved from recycling a single plastic bottle provides enough energy to power a 60-watt lightbulb for 3 hours.
- 250,000 aluminum cans are made in the United States every minute.
- Aluminum comes from bauxite and is the most common metal on the Earth’s surface.
- Aluminum cans are the most widely used beverage container and are 100% recyclable.
- In 2010, Americans recycled 58 billion aluminum cans.
- Recycling aluminum takes about 95% less energy than making new aluminum.
- If you recycle one aluminum can per day for your whole life, the energy saved could power a home for 3-4 years.
How It’s Made: Aluminum Cans (Sam’s Club Choice)
Fire and Sand- How Glass Bottles and Jars Are Made
- Glass is made from four major ingredients: silica sand, limestone, soda ash and recycled glass.
- Recycling rates for glass in the United States are very low because the material is so heavy and the raw materials used to make new glass are cheap.
- About 80% of recycled glass is used to make new beverage containers.
- Glass can be recycled even when it is broken.
- You could run a 100-watt lightbulb for 4 hours using the energy saved from recycling a single glass bottle.