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Fun & Funny Facts About Recycling

We all know that recycling is an important part of waste management: It helps save energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and curbs both air and water pollution. But here are a few eye-opening bits of trivia about the scope and breadth of the recycling effort that you may have missed.

History

Fun & Funny Facts About Recycling

Recycling is thought to be an ancient practice, with cultures in pre-industrial times melting down old pots and swords to make new ones. 

Size

If you took all the aluminum cans recycled since 1972 -- an estimated 1,099 billion -- and laid them end to end in a giant can-chain, they'd stretch all the way to the moon and back 174 times. 

Numbers

If you chopped down a 15-year-old tree and used it to make paper grocery bags, you'd wind up with about 700.  That's roughly the number of bags your local supermarket goes through in an hour.

Misconceptions

A majority of Americans have difficulty identifying materials as recyclable.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the United States, about 75 percent of the garbage dumped in the regular trash could be recycled.

Paper Production

It takes nearly 500,000 trees to produce the weekly Sunday newspaper. 

Litter

If you walked a mile along any highway in the United States, you'd encounter an average of 1,457 pieces of litter. 

Photo Credits

  • "paper ball" by brokenarts (stock.xchng)