Environmental Facts

  • The world's largest waste oil processing plant is located in East Chicago, Indiana. The facility recycles 75 million gallons per year of crankcase and industrial oil and 20 million gallons per year of oily wastewater.
  • Recycling paper uses 60 percent less energy than manufacturing paper from virgin timber.
  • Every year, we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
  • If everyone in the U.S. recycled their Sunday newspaper, it would save 500,000 trees every week.
  • Each year Americans send 24 million tons of lawn clippings, leaves, and tree and shrub cuttings to landfills. In so doing, it takes up about 20 percent of our landfill space.
  • Every day Americans use enough steel and tin cans to make steel pipe running from Los Angeles to New York and back again.
  • Seventy-six percent of Americans consider themselves environmentalists.
  • When a product is recycled and then reused as a new product, the recycling loop has been closed. Glass is 100% recyclable, and can be used over and over with no loss in quality. The process of creating new glass from old is also extremely efficient, producing virtually no waste or unwanted byproducts.
  • In 1990, the aluminum industry recycled a record 55 billion aluminum cans representing 63.9 percent of those used by consumers.
  • Americans throw away enough used motor oil every year to fill 120 supertankers.
  • The average American throws away about 3.5 pounds of garbage per day.
  • Lead-zinc mines dug by the Romans in Wales are still a source of groundwater pollution nearly 2,000 years since their first use.
  • Since 1000 AD, world population has tripled, while fossil fuel use has grown tenfold.
  • Out of a barrel of crude oil, you can get 2.5 quarts of virgin motor oil, while it takes only a gallon of used motor oil to get the same amount of high quality motor oil.
  • We throw away enough iron and steel to continuously supply all the nation's automakers.
  • Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year. Most of it winds up in landfills.
  • Every year, the U.S. and Canada chop down 34 million Christmas trees - enough to cover the state of Rhode Island with a forest.
  • Recycling paper uses 60 percent less energy than manufacturing paper from virgin timber.
  • Recycling a glass jar saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours.
  • A dripping faucet can waste up to 2,000 gallons of water a month.
  • That's equal to 24,000 gallons/year and who knows how much in utility costs wasted down the drain.
  • Seventy percent of all water used by humans worldwide is for irrigation.
  • American consumers and industry throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet every three months.
  • One-half of the world's population cooks with wood or charcoal.
  • If you stacked all the refrigerators Americans buy in a single week, you'd have a tower more than 80 miles high.
  • Rainwater washing off urban pavement can be shockingly polluted.
  • Sixty percent of the world's lead supply comes from recycled batteries.
  • 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 to fill the New Orleans Superdome 1,500 times over.
  • Not only does recycling paper reduce waste, it also saves energy. Making one ton of recycled paper uses only 60 percent of the energy needed to make a ton of virgin paper.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the U.S. has lost about 60 acres of wetlands per hour for the past 200 years.
  • Sewage treatment plants are essentially bacteria farms. The living bacteria breakdown the wastes in the sewage. The result is water that contains useful nutrients that can then be released into rivers or reservoirs safely. Modern multi-step water treatment techniques can even return wastewater to drinking water quality if necessary.