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Recycling: It Saves HOW Much?

Recycling has become a well-accepted part of social responsibility. Between the “green movement” and the increased awareness of global warming, recycling and environmentally friendly programs have sprung up rapidly over the last ten years. But what are the ramifications of our efforts? Or rather, how do we obtain an understanding of the difference these recycling programs have made? Understanding the consequence of our actions is critical if we are to have any sort of stamina or continued motivation in participating in recycling programs. The below information seeks to address this issue and answer the question of how much good are we actually doing? The following fast, fun facts provide striking examples of why recycling is more than merely a media-made fad.

Aluminum
– When a can is recycled, it can reappear on shelves in just 60 days!
Recycling one can saves enough energy to run a TV or computer for 3 hours!
– One can also saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours!
– It takes the same amount of energy to make 20 cans out of recycled material as it does to make 1 new one!
– Recycling one ton of aluminum saves 37 barrels of oil!
– Recycling the 80,000,000 Hershey Kiss wrappers that are made every day would save about 50 acres-or 40 football fields-worth of aluminum!

Steel
-The energy saved from 1 lb of steel could power a 60-watt bulb for over 24 hours!
-This same pound of recycled steel saves the equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil!
-Recycling 1lb of steel also saves 2,500 lbs of iron ore, 1,400 lbs of coal and 120 lbs of limestone!
-Annual U.S. steel recycling saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes! LA could be powered on this amount of energy for almost 10 years!
-With the amount of steel recycled from appliances, we could build 160 stadiums about the same size as the Pittsburgh Steelers Stadium!

Paper
– 250,000,000 trees would be saved every year if all newspapers were recycled!
– The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years!
– Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, and 7,000 gallons of water!
– Recycling 1 ton of paper also saves 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity! This is enough to power the average U.S. home for 5 months!

Glass
– The energy saved from recycling 1 glass bottle could light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours!
– Recycling 1 glass bottle causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than if the bottle were made from raw materials!
– For every ton of glass recycled, 9 gallons of oil are saved!

Plastic
– Recycling 1 ton of plastic save approximately 2 thousand gallons of gas!
– Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator!
– Producing new plastic from recycled material uses ⅓ less energy compared to making it from raw materials!

Clearly, the positive effects of recycling are even more significant than many would imagine. If you found this information to be interesting or even inspirational, be sure to recycle the knowledge to those you know!

The information in this post has been compiled thanks to the following sources. Please reference the original sites for even more information regarding the effects of recycling!

http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html
http://www.headwatersrecycle.com/why.html
http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/recycling-statistics.html

Beyond Party Lines: Finding Common Ground on the Environment

The environment has become a great topic of debate between politicians. Since “going green” became popular in the mid-2000s, politicians have been judged on and questioned over their stance regarding the current environmental situation and what (if anything) they believe must be done to remedy it. Questions regarding wildlife preservation, recycling regulation, usage of different types of energy sources, and environmental programs budgeting have all been great topics of interest. Many politicians deny the existence of environmental problems while others are champions for preservation; some claim Global Warming is a scientifically unfounded hysteria that was created by the media while others call for drastic reforms. (Read more at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-06-16/news/ct-oped-0616-chapman-20110616_1_climate-change-bjorn-lomborg-carbon-dioxide)

Many believe that the ability for progress is stinted because of the great contrast in the viewpoints held by politicians. These people believe that the environment is a cause that is more important than just another bickering point for politicians. Furthermore, the mere fact that environmental-friendliness has such divisive qualities is puzzling and frustrating to those who wish to see positive change for the good of the planet.

So why is the environment a topic of debate? Does it really come down to a difference of opinion or is there an additional factor, which is preventing cooperation between the two parties on this important issue?

Perhaps one of the most important ways in which the environment became a topic of national interest was with, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was released in 2006.This film brought to light the immediate threats of Global Warming and inspired much of the American people to take action and fix the issue. (Read more about the film and reactions to it at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060524-global-warming.html)The primary issue with this, from a political sense, was that the film was created by Democrat and former Vice President, Al Gore. Mr. Gore emphasized in his film that bettering the environment is something we all need to take interest in, regardless of party. Unfortunately, his presence in and support of the film and its message were enough to turn off those of different political views. This ultimately put the issues discussed up for debate, rather than simply accepted and discussed.

Additionally, much of environmental politics is concerned with budgeting and governmental influence. Those who oppose environmental programs point to their cost as the predominant concern, especially in such a poor economy. When government institutions are concerned with funding schools, unemployment programs, and the like, environmental and recycling programs rank low in priority. (For a recent example of Republican deliberation on environmental bills, read at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/29/house-republicans-regulations-environment-labor_n_940387.html.) Still, others say that it is not the responsibility of the federal government to dictate what policies the state must enact, even if they are beneficial to the nation as a whole.

While there are many reasons to object to national environmental programs, there are those that assert that the environment is too important an issue to be fought over like any other political debate; that this is an opportunity for parties to work together for the bettering of the world and for generations to come. This is an issue that we all created and that we must all work together to fix. After all, it is in the best interest of everyone, regardless of race, to make the world a better place

To learn more about how different political groups and parties are dealing with the environment and policy development for its protection, visit http://environment.yale.edu/climate/files/PoliticsGlobalWarming2011.pdf

Should Government Sponsor Costly Recycling Programs?

With global warming at the forefront of many of so many of our minds, many argue that government sponsored recycling projects are a critical to help ameliorate the current situation. Such proponents argue that government programs are necessary so that people have convenient access to recycling and, therefore, are more inclined to participate. Furthermore, many environmental activists point to the responsibility of the government to do what is in the best interest of the public and believe that creating a cleaner environment is an important part of that.
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A National Bottle Bill?

Bottle bills refer to laws set in place at the state level to incentivize the recycling of containers. More specifically, they are container deposit laws which provide minimum deposit refunds on such beverage containers as beer, malt and non-alcoholic drinks. (With the exclusion of milk.) The primary purpose behind these bills is to encourage recycling of reusable containers. Currently, California, Connecticut, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont are the sole states with bottle bills. With recycling and more efficient waste disposal at the forefront of so many of our minds, it is unsurprising that many seek to expand the policies of these states’ bottle bills to the rest.
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The Great Plastic Bag Debate

“Paper or plastic?” It is a question we respond to with little thought or hesitation. The use of plastic bags for grocery shopping is by no means new. And while an increase in environmental awareness and eco-friendly practices have many stores offering reusable totes, the plastic bag remains most commonly supplied by retailers. In fact, it is estimated that between 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed annually across the globe and approximately 380 billion of those are from the United States. Equally upsetting, the United States recycling rates for these bags is estimated at about 10 percent.
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Recycling Serves the Community

There are a great number of ways in which recycling is beneficial. The impacts of decreasing our dependency on disposal services and increasing our utilization of recycling services is monumental. Such obvious environmental effects of increased recycling in our waste management systems include decreased greenhouse gas emissions and decreased need for landfills.  Such lofty effects may seem difficult to measure, however. That is to say, many of us want to see the effects of our recycling efforts. Luckily, this is very possible. Communities with strong recycling programs benefit on a number of very tangible levels relating to the quality of life to its inhabitants.
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