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Why Recycle

Why Recycle?


  • Recycling one ton of aluminum cans rather than throwing them away saves energy equivalent to 1,655 gallons of gas. (Source – EPA)
  • Recycling aluminum uses less than 5% of the energy needed to make the original product. (Source – EPA)
  • Recycled aluminum reduces pollution by 95%. (Source – Reynolds Metal Company)
  • Aluminum is a durable and sustainable metal; 2/3 of the aluminum ever produced is in use today.  (Source – The Aluminum Association)
  • Enough aluminum is landfilled to rebuild our commercial air fleet 4 times every year. (Source – Earth911)
  • 350,000 aluminum cans are made every minute to provide 80,000,000,000 pop cans used every year in the U.S. 
  • Tin cans contain 99% steel. (Source – EPA)
  • All steel products are recyclable and more than 65 percent of the steel produced in the U.S. is recycled.  (Source – EPA)
  • The steel industry needs old steel to make new steel, so by recycling food cans, residents are providing a much needed resource, and at the same time, are diverting waste from the county landfill, saving energy and preserving natural resources. (Source – Steel Recycling Institute)
  • For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved and because of this, every year the steel industry conserves enough energy to power up 18 million homes for 12 months.  (Source – Steel Recycling Institute)
  • Using recycled steel saves 40% of the water and 60—74% of the energy normally needed in steel manufacturing.  (Source – EPA)


  • Freon is a compound may up of CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons which are dangerous pollutants instrumental in destroying the ozone layer of the atmosphere.  Each Freon containing item placed in the waste stream must be certified by a technician to ensure proper Freon removal at a fee to the county.
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) reports that 20% of a typical electric bill comes from appliances you are not even using.  A plugged in, but unused toaster, or phone charger draws a small electrical current called phantom energy.
  • Using plastic parts in the construction of refrigerators and air conditioners has improved the energy efficiency of these household appliances 30-50% since the 1970s. (Source – DOE)


  • Used vehicle batteries contain both lead and sulfuric acid and are hazardous to both humans and the environment and are potentially dangerous fire and safety hazards.  (Source – AAA)
  • Nearly 99% of a vehicle battery can be recycled and used again without new lead or other natural resources from the environment.  (Source – AAA)
  • The US Department of Transportation has issued a new household battery collection procedure of placing tape over the contact points of all batteries in hopes of preventing truck fires while batteries are in transit. For more information on the reason for this change in collection procedure, please refer to this advisory letter from the US Department of Transportation.


  • The phone book paper is made from recycled paper waste and wood fiber waste such as sawdust and wood chips that would otherwise go unused. Recycled phone books are made into useful products such as animal bedding, home insulation, bathroom tissue, cereal boxes, roofing shingles, and new phone books. (Source – Keep America Beautiful)


  • About 250 million boxes are produced daily in the U.S.
  • The corrugated cardboard box industry has been recycling for over 80 years and one of the largest recycling rates, with about 78 percent being recycled.(Source – Corrugated Packaging Council)
  • Corrugated cardboard can be recycled five to seven times before it is rendered useless and becomes sludge in landfills.  Research is currently looking into converting this sludge into boiler fuel pellets to use as power manufacturing process.
  • Moving and need boxes?  Try U-Haul and their reuse program or visit a liquor store for small but strong corrugated boxes.


  • Over 3.2 million tons of electronic waste is put in landfills each year. Televisions and computers can contain 4-7 lbs of lead per unit as well as other environmentally harmful substances. Many of the components of electronics can be recycled by de-manufacturing the items. In fact, about 95% of computer components are recyclable! It just makes sense to recycle electronics instead of dumping them into the landfill.
  • The electronics will be de-manufactured by the contractor and shipped to different markets in the United States.  Donating old electronics, gives people access to technology that may not have the ability otherwise and creates jobs for professional recyclers, and refurbishers.  (Source – EPA)
  • Manufacturing one desktop computer using the required fossil fuels and chemicals equals the weight of 9 computers. (Source – EPA)
  • The leaded glass can be sent to a manufacturer to go through a high temperature smelting process which separates the glass and lead or can go through a “glass to glass” process where the glass is recycled into new product lead glass.
  • Plastics from the units are ground up for remanufacture and development of a new product such as aggregate in concrete.
  • Circuit boards may be salvaged or smelted to recover the metals.
  • Other metals, from wiring or metal casings are sent to scrap metal recovery facilities.
  • Mercury switches and batteries are removed and properly handled eventually re-entering the market.


  • Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) contain 5-6 milligrams of mercury depending on the wattage, a 4 foot fluorescent light tube contains 8.3 milligrams, a mercury thermometer contains 610 milligrams and an automotive mercury switch contains 800 milligrams of mercury, all of which can contaminate millions of gallons of drinking water if not disposed of properly.  (Source – EPA)
  • According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFCs) use about 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs, thus a savings on the monthly electric bill.
  • If just one incandescent bulb was replaced with one CFC bulb in every US home, there would be enough energy saved to light 2.5 million additional homes in 1 year and prevent enough greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of 800,000 vehicles. (Source – EPA)
  • LED (light emitting diode) holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than traditional holiday lights and add only pennies to your electric bill. (Source – www.eartheasy.com)


  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours. (Source – EPA)
  • Glass can be reused an infinite number of times; over 41 billion glass containers are made each year.  (Source – EPA)
  • Recycled glass containers generate 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution. (Source – NASA)
  • Glass collected for recycling can be used to replenish beach sand from erosion.  Visit www.southeasternrecycling.com for more information.
  • It takes approximately one million years for a glass bottle to break down in a landfill. (Source – EPA)
  • Nine gallons of fuel oil is saved when one ton of glass is recycled. (Source – EPA)
  • If a glass container carries a recycling “G” then it is made from recycled glass and can be recycled again.  Look for it.


  • Recycling 100 tons of paper reduces air pollution at a level equal to removing 52 cars from the roads in one year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Every year, enough paper is thrown away to make a 12 foot high wall from New York to California. (Source – Earth 911)
  • If each home in America replaced just one roll of their toilet paper with toilet paper made from recycled paper, 424,000 trees would be still standing. (Source – American Paper Institute)
  • In the US, the annual trash generated from holiday gift wrap and shopping bags total over 4 million tons.  Recycle your holiday cheer. (Source – www.eartheasy.com)
  • Using recycled paper saves 60% of the energy normally needed in paper manufacturing.  (Source – EPA)
  • Cereal boxes and similar packaging are now made from 100% recycled paperboard, of which 35% is from consumer recycling efforts. (Source – EPA)


  • One quart of oil can contaminate up to two million gallons of drinking water.  (Source – EPA)
  • Motor oil doesn’t wear out, it just gets dirty.  Motor oil is easy to recycle and decreases the need to buy oil from abroad.


  • Other uses for newspaper include but are not limited to, pet bedding, stabilizer in grass hydro seed, and household insulation. 
  • Only 27% of the newspapers printed in the US are recycled. (Source – Newspaper Association of America)


  • Plastic bags are a huge source of litter on our roadways and around the landfill.  If more plastic bags were recycled, there would be less litter.
  • The amount of oil it takes to make 14 plastic retail bags would run your car for one mile. Please recycle, or better yet, use a reusable bag.

PLASTICS #1 and #2

  • The first PETE  (#1) bottle was recycled in 1977.  (Source – Environmental News Network)
  • Number one reportable injury at the landfill is bee stings occurring in the recycling center when sorting and processing soda bottles that have not been rinsed out.
  • Plastic takes 100-400 years to break down in a landfill.  (Source – EPA)
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials. (Source – EPA)
  • Plastic is made from 30% petroleum oil and 70% natural gas, a non-renewable resource.  (Source – American Plastics Council)
  • Look for recycling arrows on the bottom of a plastic bottle container - #1 (PETE) and #2 (HDPE) are accepted for recycling in Fauquier County.
  • The energy saved from recycling one plastic bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes . (Source – EPA)
  • Manmade synthetic fibers such as polyester  which are made from plastic are used to make new carpet and clothes, including graduation caps and gowns.
  • Mohawk carpet recycles one out of every four plastic bottles in North America into Mohawk EverStrand fiber – that’s almost 3 billion bottles every year.
  • Americans use 4 million plastic bottles every hour and only 20% are recycled.
  • Five 2 liter recycled soda bottles (#1) provides enough fiberfill for a ski jacket. (Source – EPA)
  • Fourteen 20 ounce soda bottles can provide enough polyester fiber to produce an extra large t-shirt or one square foot of carpet.  (Source – EPA)


  • Scrap metal is divided primarily into 2 categories, ferrous and non-ferrous metals.  Ferrous metals are magnetic where non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper and brass are not.  Fauquier County accepts all metal for recycling.  (Source – Steel Recycling Institute)
  • While aluminum cans are the most popular recycled metal, aluminum containing items such as ladders, siding, storm windows and lawn furniture can also be recycled and are accepted at the Corral Farm Bulk Recycling Area.


  • 40,000 pounds of textiles are recycled in Fauquier County each month.
  • Car polishing towels and dust rags are also made from shredded textiles, such as socks with holes in them.
  • Vintage clothes collected are sold to theater groups.


  • As the landfill begins to fill up, perforated pipes are installed in sloped trenches along the layers of the landfill as a method of collecting the methane gas produced from decomposing waste.  As a cost saving to the landfill, shredded tires recycled by residents are now used at the end of a sloped trench where the water vapor is collected in what is called the sump area. The county receives a reuse credit from the state.
  • Recycled tired are shredded and are used to make new tires and rubber mats, are added to road surfaces, and become the rubber surfaces on outdoor running tracks.  Shredded tires are also used as mulch around playground equipment and footing in equitation centers.
  • A factory recycling 1.5 million tires will save the economy $11.5 million in reduced imports (105,000 barrels of oil and 3.6 million pounds of natural rubber).  The tire recycling process saves landfill space and creates hundreds of jobs. (Source – Institute for Local Self-Reliance)


  • Each year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the US and of those 30 million end up in the landfill.  Recycle yours into mulch for reuse.  (Source – www.eartheasy.com)

Date Last Modified: 09/30/2015


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