Recycling Fun Facts and Statistics

  • In Maryland, every person generates over 7 pounds of trash each day.  In just one day, Marylanders make enough trash to fill a football field 12 foot high.  -MDE, 2005 
  • Every day, Maryland homes and businesses throw away 41 million pounds of solid waste. That is enough to make a wall (3 ft. wide x 6 ft. high) that would go from Baltimore to Miami nearly 6 times. - MDE, 2005 
  • How long does it take to decompose?
    Banana peel - 2 months
    Cardboard milk carton - 5 years
    Wooden baseball bat - 20 years
    Leather baseball glove - 40 years
    Aluminum can - 350 years
    Plastic sandwich bag - 400 years
    Glass bottle - maybe never, undetermined
    Foam cup - maybe never, undetermined
    -The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
  • For every ton of paper we recycle, we can save 17 trees from being cut down to make new paper. - EPA, OSW, 1997 
  • If for one year, people in an office building of 2,000 workers recycled all the office paper, cardboard, newspaper and plastic waste they generated, greenhouse gas emissions could fall 444 MTCE, equivalent of taking about 333 cars off the road that year. - EPA, OSW, 1999 
  • If just one household generated 5 percent fewer waste newspapers, aluminum cans, steel cans and plastic containers and then recycled what remained, a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 352 pounds of carbon equivalent could be achieved. - EPA, OSW, 1999 
  • Manufacturing and recycling a ton of recycled office paper:
    -reduces solid waste by 49%, reduces total energy consumption by 43%, reduces net greenhouse gas emissions by 70% of carbon dioxide equivalents, reduces hazardous air pollutant emissions by 90% and particulate emissions by 40%, reduces absorbable organic halogen emissions to water by 100% and suspended solids by 30%.
    -Environmental Defense Fund, 1995
  • Every ton of recycled office paper saves an estimated 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and 7,000 gallons of water. -50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save the Earth and The Recyclers Handbook by the Earth Works Press, 1990 
  • A typical city of one million people can create about 2,000 jobs through recycling and waste reduction, and save its government, businesses and households $7 million per year.  -The Institute of Local Self-Reliance, 1993 
  • It takes 20 times the energy to make virgin aluminum, eight times the energy to make virgin plastic and two times the energy to make virgin paper than to produce their recycled equivalents. - Welfare for Waste from GrassRoots Recycling Network, 1999 
  • Aluminum recycling is a closed-loop process, saving 95% of the energy needed to produce aluminum from ore. - The Aluminum Association 
  • In 2001, the energy lost from unrecycled cans was equal to approximately 16 million barrels of crude oil or enough power to supply electricity to 2.7 million homes for a year.  Recycling a single can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours. - Alcan Inc., 2003 
  • Two gallons of used motor oil can provide enough electricity to run the average household for about a day or cook 48 meals in a microwave oven, blow dry your hair 216 times, vacuum your house for 15 months or watch television for 180 hours. -American Petroleum Institute 
  • In 2005, recycling provided $5.2 billion dollars worth of materials to the U.S. manufacturing industry. - White House Task Force on Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention and Recycling 
  • Recycling one pound of corrugated cardboard or plastic reduces gas emissions by over 1.5 pounds.  One pound of recycled newspaper reduces 1.3 pounds of emissions. - King County Solid Waste Division, Seattle, Washington, 2003 
  • Curbside recycling reduces the emission of 10 major categories of air pollutants and 8 major categories of water polluntants, even after accounting for all the impacts of collecting, transporting, processing, and remanufacturing recycled products. -Franklin Associates, 1994
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For more information, please contact The Waste Diversion Division at 410-537-3314.​​

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