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Recycling Facts

  • The average American throws away 3.5 pounds of trash per day.
  • The average American uses 650 lbs. of paper per year.
  • One ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7000 gallons of water, 4200 kWh (enough to heat a home for half a year), 390 gallons of oil, and prevents 60 pounds of air pollutants.
  • Producing recycled white paper creates 74 percent less air pollution, 35 percent less water pollution, and 75 percent less processed energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.
  • Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over nine cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Number of landfills in operation in 1978: 14,000; in 1988: 7,924; in 2001: 1,858; in 2006: 1,754.
  • Recycling one ton of newspaper saves 15 trees.
  • Every ton of newspaper recycled saves 4100 kWh or enough energy to power a TV for 31 hours.
  • Recycling a soda can saves 96 percent of the energy used to make a can from ore and produces 95 percent less air pollution and 97 percent less water pollution.
  • One gallon of oil, when reprocessed, can generate enough energy to meet the electricity needs of a home for half a day
  • The plastic used in one toner cartridge contains about a half quart of oil.

Here’s how to help

  • Recycle the glass, metal, and plastic containers and paper in the recycle bins located throughout campus.
  • Try to carry a bottle, aluminum can, or plastic containers, until you find a recycling bin.
  • Empty and clean all food and beverage containers before placing them in recycling bins.
  • Do not contaminate the recycling bins by dropping trash into recycling bins.

Recycle every day

Learn how to recycle at MIT from our "Recycling@MIT" flyer. This "cheatsheet" lists what's recyclable on campus and where to find containers. Check out the other flyers available on our Recycling page.

Compiled from the EPA Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste, Forty Ways to Make Government Purchasing Green and other sources.

 MIT Environment, Health & Safety
 Working Green Committee


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