We have compiled the following facts and stories here as a reference for those wishing to learn more about recycling, and the impact it has on our environment.

• The United States produces the most trash per person in the world.

• Every month Americans throw away enough glass to fill an entire skyscraper.

• Americans throw away over 2 million plastic bottles every hour.


The Inner Harbor Water Wheel, or “Mr. Trash Wheel,” is a unique method of environmental clean up happening in Baltimore, Maryland.


• The majority of plastic bottles we use are made from PET plastic, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate.

• It takes over 1 million years for a plastic bottle or jar to decompose.

• In 2009, only 28% of PET bottles and jars were recycled in the United States.

• Plastic thrown into the Pacific Ocean has formed a “garbage patch” twice the size of Texas.

• The energy saved from recycling a single plastic bottle provides enough energy to power a 60-watt lightbulb for 3 hours.


• 250,000 aluminum cans are made in the United States every minute.

• Aluminum comes from bauxite and is the most common metal on the Earth’s surface.

• Aluminum cans are the most widely used beverage container and are 100% recyclable.

• In 2010, Americans recycled 58 billion aluminum cans.

• Recycling aluminum takes about 95% less energy than making new aluminum.

• If you recycle one aluminum can per day for your whole life, the energy saved could power a home for 3-4 years.


• Glass is made from four major ingredients: silica sand, limestone, soda ash and recycled glass.

• Recycling rates for glass in the United States are very low because the material is so heavy and the raw materials used to make new glass are cheap.

• About 80% of recycled glass is used to make new beverage containers.

• Glass can be recycled even when it is broken.

• You could run a 100-watt lightbulb for 4 hours using the energy saved from recycling a single glass bottle.