Energy & Waste
- The average American produces more than four pounds of garbage per day. Over the course of a year, that is more than 1,600 pounds of garbage per person.
- From 1990 to 2010, the total amount of garbage going to landfills dropped by almost 10 million tons, from 145.3 million to 135.5 million tons.
- Letting a bathroom faucet run for five minutes uses as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb burn for 14 hours.
- Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year.
- Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
- Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down in a landfill.
- The energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes.
- It takes approximately one million years for a glass bottle to break down in a landfill.
- Recycling one glass bottle can power a computer for 30 minutes.
- Producing glass from new materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from used glass.
- The average American uses 650 pounds of paper each year. Almost 50% of office paper is recovered through recycling.
- Recycling 2,000 pounds of paper saves 17 trees.
- By recycling one ton of paper, we save enough energy to heat a home for six months.
- Almost 97% of the world's water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. Only 1% is usable for agriculture, manufacturing and personal needs.
- The average American uses more than 750,000 gallons of water per year. Around the world, the average is less than half of that.
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating dump located in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. The island is twice the size of Texas. The trash found there is almost 90% plastic, and weighs 3.5 million tons.
Sources: Associated Press, Clean Air Council, Environmental Protection Agency, Recycle Across America
Click here to return to the Earth Day mini-site.