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- North Carolinians throw away more than $74,072,000 in aluminum cans each year.
- Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials.
- 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.
SOURCES: NC DWM and NC DPPEA. FOR MORE INFO: Aluminium Association
- N.C. throws away enough glass each year to fill up more than 11,800 tractor-trailers. If you put those tractor-trailers end to end they’d stretch from Asheville to Greensboro.
- Each month, North Carolinians throw out glass that would fill up more than 13 miles worth of tractor-trailers lined up end-to-end. That’s a half marathon of tractor-trailers each month!
- Glass bottles can be used hundreds of times over to make new bottles. North Carolina has three glass plants capable of consuming thousands of tons of “cullet” or recovered glass.
- Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass. SOURCES: NC DWM and NC DPPEA. FOR MORE INFO:Glass Packaging Institute
- North Carolinians throw away more than $164,375,460 in mixed paper each year.
- Each year, N.C. throws away enough potentially recyclable paper to fill more than 1000 soccer fields three feet deep.
- Last year NC trashed enough paper to fill 1558 football fields three feet deep.
- Almost 80 percent of U.S. paper mills rely on recovered recycled paper. In fact it supplies 37 percent of their material.
- Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
- One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing and office paper uses 24 trees.
- Producing recycled paper causes 74 percent less air pollution and 35 percent less water pollution than producing virgin paper.
- One ton of paper made from recycled scrap paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
- Recycled paper production uses 59 percent less water compared to paper production from virgin resources. Typically, older virgin paper mills will use 100 pounds of water to make one pound of paper.
SOURCES: NC DWM and NC DPPEA. FOR MORE INFO: American Forest & Paper Association
- Every 3.9 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
- Every 17.3 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of the Bank of America Building in Charlotte.
- Every 1.3 minutes, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the distance of the first Wright Brothers’ flight.
- Every hour, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the length of Lowes’ Motor Speedway in Charlotte 22.9 times.
- Every week, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Outer Banks 28 times.
- In a year, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Blue Ridge Pkwy 642 times.
- In a year, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the length of I-40 (in N.C.) 715 times.
- Every 75 minutes, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to equal the weight of a Fort Bragg F16 fighter plane.
- Every 1.7 hours, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to equal the weight of a school bus.
- In the time it takes you to brush your teeth (2 minutes), North Carolinians send 4,657 plastic bottles to landfills.
- In the times it takes you to watch the Super Bowl (3.5 hours), North Carolinians send 978,092 plastic bottles to landfills.
- North Carolinians throw away more than $41,411,600 in plastic each year.
- Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials. SOURCES: NC DWM and NC DPPEA. FOR MORE INFO: American Chemistry Council
- North Carolinians throw away more than $16,819,500 in steel each year.
- Nearly all the steel made in the U.S. and in the world is made from scrap.
- 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.
- Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
- Steel is one of the most recycled materials with a 68 percent national recycling rate. Many steel products are recycled at a high rate in North Carolina, though less than 15 percent of steel cans are recovered.
SOURCES: NC DWM and NC DPPEA
- Every year, North Carolinians throw away enough trash to circle the earth twice.
- The trash we throw into the landfill each year in North Carolina is equivalent to the weight of 7,866,666 cars a year!
- The amount of waste disposed in North Carolina has increased from 6.8 million tons in 1991 to 11.86 million tons in 2007.
- With the amount of trash North Carolinians throw away, we fill enough Dumpsters to line the N.C. coastline more than nine times every year.
- Every 40 days, North Carolinians throw away enough trash to fill Dumpsters lining the entire North Carolina coastline.
- The amount of trash North Carolinians throw away in 3.5 hours would fill Dumpsters that reach as high as Mt. Mitchell. That’s 6,684 feet!
- With the amount of trash North Carolinians throw away, we would fill enough Dumpsters to line the length of N.C.’s Interstate 40 more than six times in one year. That’s almost 2,750 miles of Dumpsters each year.
- Every 55 days, North Carolinians throw away enough trash to fill Dumpsters lining the entire route of I-40 in North Carolina. That’s 420 miles.
- The state picked up more than 10 million pounds of litter in 2007. That is more than one pound of litter for each of the state’s 8.86 million citizens.
SOURCES: NC DWM, NC DOT, RBAC and NC DPPEA
- Only half of aluminum cans are recycled despite a statewide disposal ban on the material. Other items banned from disposal in North Carolina landfills include whole tires, appliances (white goods), yard waste, lead acid batteries, used oil and antifreeze.
- North Carolinians recycle 85.4 pounds of materials a second. That’s impressive! But we throw away more than 752 pounds of trash a second. That’s almost nine times what we recycle.
- Construction and demolition is the largest waste stream in the state, accounting for about 32 percent of all disposed waste. Recycling facilities are being developed around the state for these materials. Habitat for Humanity operates “Re-Stores” in some North Carolina communities, accepting donations and selling reusable construction materials.
- NC throws away about 270 million dollars worth of recyclable goods each year.
- Aluminum and glass companies rely heavily on secondary materials for their product, and many plastics manufacturers also depend on recovered material.
- Ultimately, the major industrial sectors would suffer severe difficulties if the supply of recycled materials suddenly disappeared.
- Recycling in North Carolina is a job creator and a growing part of our state’s economy. Recycling employs more than 14,000 North Carolinians and recycling jobs have increased about 48 percent in the last ten years.
- In 1994, our state had 306 recycling companies. In 2004, we had 532 recycling businesses in North Carolina, a 74 percent rise in only ten years. That means more materials are being recovered, more jobs are being created, and more money is flowing through our economy – all because of recycling!
- A 2003 study found that private sector recyclers employed 12,776 people across the state. A similar study in 2008 documented 14,490 employed in recycling industry, an increase of more than 13 percent in only four years. If we assume a low average wage of $25,000/year for these workers, recycling creates a $377 million payroll for North Carolina each year, which is plowed back into the economy through consumer purchasing, home-buying, savings in local banks, and paying of property and income taxes.