Environmental Impact

Recycling’s about the environment:

You know recycling is good for the environment, but here are the specifics.

Energy Savings, for example:

* Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials.
* Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
* Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass.
* Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.

Resource savings, for example:

* One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing and office paper uses 24 trees.
* Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.

Prevention of emissions and pollution, for example:

* Producing recycled paper causes 74 percent less air pollution and 35 percent less water pollution than producing virgin paper.
* The pollutants created in producing one ton of aluminum include 3,290 pounds of red mud, 2,900 pounds of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), 81 pounds of air pollutants and 789 pounds of solid wastes.
* Recycling one ton of steel reduces air pollution by 86 percent and water pollution by 76 percent, and saves 74 percent of the energy and 40 percent of the water that would have otherwise been used.

And what about North Carolina’s environment?

* Climate change – the term “global warming” makes us think about the whole planet, but sea level rises and more frequent and stronger hurricanes should make climate change a big deal for all North Carolinians. You know that waste reduction saves energy and resources, but did you know that it could also slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases? Whoa! Recycling means you can sleep at night! I like that.
* Air quality –Among the many strategies to improve air quality, recycling has a strong role to play. Recycling helps lower emissions of pollution-forming gases and lowers the amount of methane that landfills have to burn off. Also, using more discarded paper to make new paper allows the trees left standing to do their job cleaning the air.
* Trees – Speaking of which, recycling paper has long been touted as a saver of trees. Even if you’re not a tree hugger, you can see that the fewer we use for making paper leaves more for other, higher-value products, such as lumber.