Recycling Facts

  • Every day, American families produce an estimated 4 million pounds of household hazardous waste (nail polish, paint thinner, batteries, etc.
  • Fifty U.S. states dispose of toxic waste in another state.
  • Enough hazardous waste is generated in one year in the U.S. to fill the New Orleans Superdome 1,500 times over.
  • In 1994, 13.6 million tons of food waste ended up in the municipal solid waste stream.
  • Americans throw away 570 diapers per second – thats 49 million diapers a year.
  • If you stacked all the refrigerators Americans buy in a single week, you’d have a tower more than 80 miles high.
  • Durable goods, such as refrigerators and television sets, made up 16% of the 1994 U.S. municipal solid waste stream by weight, or 25.5 million tons of waste.
  • Nondurable goods made up 27.6% of the 1994 U.S. municipal solid waste stream by weight, or 44.1 million tons of waste.
  • 10% of the average grocery bill pays for packaging – that’s more than goes to the farmers.
  • One-third of all garbage discarded by Americans is packaging.
  • An American discards an average of 100 styrofoam cups per year.
  • Used computer printer laser cartridges can be refilled or recycled. Empty toner cartridges can be mailed free to their maker if shipped via UPS or Mailboxes, Etc. For more information, call Cannon at 800-962-2708m Hewlett-Packard at 800-527-3753, or Apple at 800-776-2333.
  • Refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that must be reclaimed prior to disposal or recycling.
  • The Kidney Foundation will accept donated old cars and arrange for pick-up. The money goes to treat kidney illness. Call 1-800-382-9971 for more information.
  • To learn of the nearest collection site that accepts plastic “peanuts” used as fill in packaging, call the “Peanut Pipeline”, a 24-hour toll-free hotline set-up by the Plastic Loose Fill Council, at 1-800-828-2214.
  • For information on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam recycling, call the Association of Foam Packaging Recyclers at 800-944-8448.

Content on this page provided by Second Time Around – EPA Region 5 and Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University.