What does it mean to recycle?

Green Recycle Logo/Symbol

Literally, it means to treat or process (used and waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse.

Recycling also means:

  • Saving energy
  • Saving raw materials
  • Preventing pollution
  • Conserving valuable landfill space
  • Reducing disposal cost
  • Reducing litter

North Carolinians recycle 85.4 pounds of materials a second!  But we throw away over 752 pounds of trash a second.  That’s almost nine times what we recycle!

  • Last year NC trashed enough paper to fill 1,558 football fields three feet deep!
  • Recycling an aluminum can saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin materials.
  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60% of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp.
  • Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30% more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass.
  • One ton of uncoasted virgin (non-recycled) printing and office paper uses 24 trees.
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only 2/3 of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials.
  • One ton of paper made from recycled scrap paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Nearly all the steel made in the US and in the world is made from scrap.
  • Producing recycled paper causes 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution than producing virgin paper.
  • Recycling one ton of steel reduces air pollution by 86% and water pollution by 76%, and saves 74% of the energy and 40% of the water that would have otherwise been used.
  • Recycled paper production used 59% less water compared to paper production from virgin resources.