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By Jan White
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We all throw trash away, but we don’t generally stop and think about how much waste material we generate. Because solid waste disposal isn’t priced like a utility, it doesn’t provide much incentive for people to throw away less and recycle more. 

But for those of you who are interested – here are 25  facts about trash that might cause you to pause and think a little differently about the garbage you produce.

1.90% of solid waste doesn’t get recycled

2.Landfills are among the most significant contributors to soil pollution

3.A single recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for four hours

4.It’s estimated that only 30% of recyclable material is actually recycled

5.Recycling plastic saves about twice as much energy as it takes to burn it

6.Five recycled plastic bottles make enough fiberfill for a ski jacket

7.Motor oil can be recycled - it doesn’t wear out; it just gets dirty

8.It takes five hundred years for the average plastic water bottle to decompose

9.Eleven million tons of recyclable clothing, shoes, and textiles make their way to landfills every year

10.The amount of energy needed to create new products from virgin materials rather than recycled would fully power 23.3 million houses for a year

11.Nine out of ten people say they would recycle if it were easier

12.Studies indicate that women are more likely to recycle than men

13.The U.S. throws away around $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging every year

14.The amount of plastic film and wrap produced annually could shrink-wrap the State of Texas

15. It’s estimated that 18 billion pounds of trash winds up in our oceans each year

16.Over 100,000 marine animals die every year from plastic entanglement or ingestion

17.Glass bottles take 4,000 years to decompose

18.Glass, like aluminum, is infinitely recyclable without loss of purity or quality

19. An estimated 80% of all glass containers recovered for recycling are reused to manufacture new glass containers

20.Americans use 65 billion aluminum cans each year

21.In three months, enough aluminum cans are thrown out to rebuild all our commercial air fleets

22.Recycling just two aluminum cans can save the same amount of energy it takes to power a PC for a single workday

23.Americans produce an additional five million tons of waste celebrating holidays. Four-fifths of the waste is wrapping paper and shopping bags

24.Americans use 650 pounds of paper a year

25.A single American consumes roughly two trees annually in paper products 

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