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Recycling facts and figures

Participation

  • 94 percent of Wisconsin households recycle and feel it is worthwhile.
  • 58 percent of Wisconsin households recycle at least as much as they did two years ago, and 32 percent are recycling more now.
  • Over 50 percent of Wisconsin households compost yard waste and 73 percent leave grass clippings on their lawns.

Natural resource conservation

  • Rigorous recycling efforts keep almost 1.7 million tons of material out of Wisconsin landfills and incinerators each year.
  • Wisconsin citizens have saved landfill space equivalent to the size of five average landfills since 1990.
  • Recycling one ton of aluminum saves the energy equivalent of 2,350 gallons of gasoline or the total amount of electricity used by a typical Wisconsin home over 10 years.
  • Recycling paper produces 73 percent less air pollution than using virgin materials.
  • Recycling glass reduces mining waste by 80 percent.

Energy savings

  • Recycling 1 ton of glass saves the equivalent of 10 gallons of oil.
  • Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1-2,000 gallons of gasoline.
  • Recycling 1 ton of newspaper saves the equivalent of 100 gallons of gasoline.
  • Recycling one ton of aluminum saves the energy equivalent of 2,350 gallons of gasoline or the total amount of electricity used by a typical Wisconsin home over 10 years.
  • Recycling 1 ton of iron saves 1 ton of coal.

Trash trivia

  • In Wisconsin, we generate 4.6 million tons of trash and recyclables each year. That's enough to fill a typical city street over 4 feet deep with trash (curb to curb) for 575 miles! If you remove the recyclables, only 357 miles would be filled with trash.
  • In the United States, we generate enough trash and recyclables each day to fill 72,450 garbage trucks that hold 9 tons of trash each. If you remove the recyclables, only 44,919 garbage trucks would be needed.

Landfills

  • There are 39 municipal landfills and 37 industrial landfills in Wisconsin (2002).
  • There are 1,967 municipal landfills (2000) in the United States.

Office paper

  • In Wisconsin, we use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot high wall, 145 miles long. We recycle 56 miles of that wall.
  • In the United States, we use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot high wall, 6,815 miles long or two and half times the distance from New York to Los Angeles.

Our share

  • The average person in Wisconsin generates 4.7 pounds of trash (residential and their share of commercial trash) each day and recycles 1.9 pounds of that trash per day.
  • The average person in the United States generates 4.7 pounds of trash each day and recycles 1.4 pounds of that trash per day.
Last revised: Thursday December 08 2016