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Crunching numbers: Recycling saves money, energy
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

If you are still not convinced about the benefits of recycling, let us share these facts provided by the Georgia Recycling Coalition. 

With only 35 percent of our trash is being recycled, we are wasting an enormous amount of resources and energy and money. Recycling costs less.  On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill and $65-$75 to incinerate it. 

When you consider how much waste is generated even daily, that is a tremendous amount of cash going down the drain – or maybe more appropriately down the landfill.

Recycling saves energy, too.  Consider these facts:

• The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a CFL bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.

• Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours – or saves the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.

• The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.

• Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

• Each ton (2,000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water. This represents a 64 percent energy savings, a 58 percent water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.

Recycling reduces the need for new raw materials, so we conserve precious resources. Consider these factoids:

• There is no limit to the number of times an aluminum soda can can be recycled. (We actually use 80 billion soda cans every year.)

• Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.

• If all of our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year. 

• If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.

• Mining and transporting raw materials for glass produces approximately 385 pounds of waste for every ton of glass that is made. Substituting recycled glass for half of the raw materials cuts waste by 80 percent. 

Needless to say, we know recycling matters and we encourage you to join us in this easy way to make significant differences in our world. 

Find out more about recycling by contacting Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880-4888.

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