Recycling Facts & Links

For the environment:

  • Recycling conserves finite natural resources - this is critical as the population continues to grow exponentially.

  • Recycling conserves fresh water up to 95% in the mining and manufacturing process for many materials.

  • Recycling prevents waste from going into oceans - when there is a strong recycling culture, there is less litter and less waste going into ocean

  • Protects forests which helps to reduce CO2 emissions

  • Significantly reduces the use of fossil fuel energy and reduces CO2 emissions


Additional facts to know:

  • Only about 5% of plastic waste gets recycled in US

  • The U.S. recycling levels have not improved in 20 years and have only declined despite the billions of dollars spent on recycling competitions, symposiums, awareness campaigns and new sorting technologies.

  • Despite only representing 5% of the world population, the U.S. generates more waste than any other country in the world. (World Watch Institute)

  • Meanwhile, plastic has become pervasive. Consider that Americans generated about 60 pounds of plastic waste per person in 1980, according to the report. By 2018, that was up to 218 pounds—a 263% total increase.

  • In less than 15 years, worldwide waste is expected to double. (World Watch Institute)

  • Americans were lured into thinking their plastics were getting recycled because they were getting shipped to China for so many years. But China stopped accepting American and European plastics in 2018. The countries then began shipping to Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, until those countries balked.

  • One fact remains - if the public is confused when they approach the recycling bin, they will continue to: make mistakes, be apathetic and be skeptical about recycling - and therefore, contamination levels will continue to be high, recycling will continue to be economically crippled, recycling levels will not increase and environmental progress will be stalled. 

  • Despite the stark failure of plastics recycling, the plastics, packaging, and products industries have waged a decades-long misinformation campaign to perpetuate the myth that plastic is recyclable