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On Recycling

Only half of aluminum cans are recycled despite 
a statewide disposal ban on the material.

Construction and demolition is the largest waste stream in the state, accounting for about 32 percent of all disposed waste.

Recycling employs more than 14,000 North Carolinians and recycling jobs have increased about 48 percent in the last ten years.

Recycling helps to lower emissions of smog-forming gases. 
It's  the number one thing you can do to help curb climate change, 
the effects of asthma and red level alert days.

Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required 
to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials.

Glass bottles can be used hundreds of times over to make new bottles.

Each year, North Carolina throws away enough potentially 
recyclable paper to fill more than 1000 soccer fields three feet deep.

In the time it takes you to brush your teeth (2 minutes), 
North Carolinians send 4,657 plastic bottles to landfills.

Nearly all the steel made in the U.S. 
and in the world is made from scrap.

Just One Can

It's just one little can. One little can can't change the world." Ever heard that? That one little can is energy, water, pollution savings, jobs and more money for your home town to spruce up, perk up and stand up. It's not what it can't do, but what it can do... for you! 

All over North Carolina, people just like you are employed, pay taxes, spend money and invest in their communities thanks to recycling. The stuff you recycle means that 13,000 North Carolinians have a job and that means money for the economy.

Plus, recycling helps to lower emissions of smog-forming gases. It's  the number one thing you can do to help curb climate change, the effects of asthma and red level alert days.


            Recycling Facts
  • Only half of aluminum cans are recycled despite a statewide disposal ban on the material. Other items banned from disposal in North Carolina landfills include whole tires, appliances (white goods), yard waste, lead acid batteries, used oil and antifreeze.
  • North Carolinians recycle 85.4 pounds of materials a second. That’s impressive! But we throw away more than 752 pounds of trash a second. That’s almost nine times what we recycle.
  • Construction and demolition is the largest waste stream in the state, accounting for about 32 percent of all disposed waste. Recycling facilities are being developed around the state for these materials. Habitat for Humanity operates “Re-Stores” in some North Carolina communities, accepting donations and selling reusable construction materials.
  • NC throws away about 270 million dollars worth of recyclable goods each year.
  • Aluminum and glass companies rely heavily on secondary materials for their product, and many plastics manufacturers also depend on recovered material.
  • Ultimately, the major industrial sectors would suffer severe difficulties if the supply of recycled materials suddenly disappeared.
  • Recycling in North Carolina is a job creator and a growing part of our state’s economy. Recycling employs more than 14,000 North Carolinians and recycling jobs have increased about 48 percent in the last ten years.
  • In 1994, our state had 306 recycling companies. In 2004, we had 532 recycling businesses in North Carolina, a 74 percent rise in only ten years. That means more materials are being recovered, more jobs are being created, and more money is flowing through our economy – all because of recycling!                                      Source: re3.org
Aluminum
     

  • North Carolinians throw away more than $74,072,000 in aluminum cans each year.
  • Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials.
  • The pollutants created in producing one ton of aluminum include 3,290 pounds of red mud, 2,900 pounds of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), 81 pounds of air pollutants and 789 pounds of solid wastes.
    Sources: NC DWM and NC DPPEA
Glass
     
     
  • N.C. throws away enough glass each year to fill up more than 11,800 tractor-trailers. If you put those tractor-trailers end to end they’d stretch from Asheville to Greensboro.
  • Each month, North Carolinians throw out glass that would fill up more than 13 miles worth of tractor-trailers lined up end-to-end. That’s a half marathon of tractor-trailers each month!
  • Glass bottles can be used hundreds of times over to make new bottles. North Carolina has three glass plants capable of consuming thousands of tons of “cullet” or recovered glass.
  • Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass.
  • Sources: NC DWM and NC DPPEA
Paper
     

     
  • North Carolinians throw away more than $164,375,460 in mixed paper each year.
  • Each year, N.C. throws away enough potentially recyclable paper to fill more than 1000 soccer fields three feet deep.
  • Last year NC trashed enough paper to fill 1558 football fields three feet deep.
  • Almost 80 percent of U.S. paper mills rely on recovered recycled paper. In fact it supplies 37 percent of their material.
  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
  • One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing and office paper uses 24 trees.
  • Producing recycled paper causes 74 percent less air pollution and 35 percent less water pollution than producing virgin paper.
  • One ton of paper made from recycled scrap paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Recycled paper production uses 59 percent less water compared to paper production from virgin resources. Typically, older virgin paper mills will use 100 pounds of water to make one pound of paper.
    Sources: NC DWM and NC DPPEA
Plastic
     

  • Every 3.9 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
  • Every 17.3 seconds, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the height of the Bank of America Building in Charlotte.
  • Every 1.3 minutes, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to reach the distance of the first Wright Brothers’ flight.
  • Every hour, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the length of Lowes’ Motor Speedway in Charlotte 22.9 times.
  • Every week, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Outer Banks 28 times.
  • In a year, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the Blue Ridge Pkwy 642 times.
  • In a year, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to line the length of I-40 (in N.C.) 715 times.
  • Every 75 minutes, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to equal the weight of a Fort Bragg F16 fighter plane.
  • Every 1.7 hours, North Carolinians throw away enough plastic bottles to equal the weight of a school bus.
  • In the time it takes you to brush your teeth (2 minutes), North Carolinians send 4,657 plastic bottles to landfills.
  • In the times it takes you to watch the Super Bowl (3.5 hours), North Carolinians send 978,092 plastic bottles to landfills.
  • North Carolinians throw away more than $41,411,600 in plastic each year.
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
  • Sources: NC DWM and NC DPPEA
Steel
     

  • North Carolinians throw away more than $16,819,500 in steel each year.
  • Nearly all the steel made in the U.S. and in the world is made from scrap.
  • Recycling one ton of steel reduces air pollution by 86 percent and water pollution by 76 percent, and saves 74 percent of the energy and 40 percent of the water that would have otherwise been used.
  • Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
  • Steel is one of the most recycled materials with a 68 percent national recycling rate. Many steel products are recycled at a high rate in North Carolina, though less than 15 percent of steel cans are recovered.                                                                             Sources: NC DWM and NC DPPEA