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Climate Change:
Recycling Matters More
Than you Think
Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.
Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) &
Climate Change
•
GHGs recognized as contributing to climate change
•
CO2 (carbon dioxide) & CH4 (methane) among most
common GHGs
•
Methane > 20x more potent GHG than CO2
•
Methane coming from garbage in landfills = ~ 3%
GHG emissions/year in U.S.
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
2
Recycling Impacts
•
Natural resource conservation
• Energy conservation
• Pollution prevention
• Saves landfill space
Avoided
greenhouse gas emissions
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
3
What’s the Link?
Energy & GHG emission savings
from reduced:
• Extraction
• Manufacturing
• Combustion
• Landfilling
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
4
When You Use Less Energy
 Produce fewer GHG emissions
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
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What’s the Impact of Recycling?
•
•
•
In 2006, U.S. recycled 32.5 % of its trash
Avoided emissions of 55 million tons of CO2
equivalent
Saved 1.3 quadrillion BTUs = ~10% of U.S.
residential energy consumption - ~50 power
plants that we didn’t have to build & that’s in
one year.
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
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Your Garbage
Trash – 4.6 pounds per
person per day
Recycling – 1.5 pounds
per person per day
A Landfill
Baled Aluminum Cans Ready
for Recycling
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
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Recycled Content Saves Energy

Recycled aluminum - 95% less energy than
“new” aluminum

Recycled plastic - 66% less energy than “new”
plastic

Recycling 1 glass bottle saves enough energy
to use a CFL bulb for 13 hours
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
8
Recycling Saves Energy
Average Family Recycles
Each Year

BTU Energy Saved =
Gallons of Gasoline
Newspaper - 187 pounds
26 gallons gasoline
Aluminum - 150 6-packs
22 gallons gasoline
Steel cans – 210 cans
4 gallons gasoline
Plastic bottles (PET) – 240 bottles
4 gallons gasoline
Glass bottles – 113 bottles
1 gallon gasoline
Total savings
57 gallons gasoline
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
9
Recycling Avoids GHG Emissions
Average Family Recycles
Each Year

GHG Avoided
Newspaper - 187 pounds
529 pounds CO2 equivalent
Aluminum - 150 6-packs
429 pounds CO2 equivalent
Steel cans – 210 cans
33 pounds CO2 equivalent
Plastic bottles (PET) – 240 bottles
44 pounds CO2 equivalent
Glass bottles – 113 bottles
Total savings
5 pounds CO2 equivalent
1,040 pounds CO2 equivalent
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
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When you Throw Away
Less Garbage
 Produce
less methane
 Landfills last longer
 Minimize need for new incinerators/landfills
 Create jobs
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
11
Additional Benefit of
Recycling –
It makes economic sense!
Recycling Creates Jobs
•
Sorting & processing recyclables sustains 10X
more jobs than landfilling or incineration.
•
Making new products with recycled content
sustains an additional 12X jobs as disposal.
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
13
Recycling Pays
Recyclables have value.
Your Community or Business
may be PAID for
•
•
•
•
Aluminum cans
Paper
Plastic bottles
And more!
. . . And trash costs money!
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
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Tools
NERC Environmental Benefits Calculator
www.nerc.org/documents/environmental_benefits_calc
ulator.html
EPA Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator
http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/ccpct/eebc/eebc.html
• Environmental Defense Paper Calculator
http://www.edf.org/papercalculator/index.cfm?tagID=
1654
•
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
15
Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.
Email: [email protected]
www.nerc.org
Phone: 802-254-3636
Fax: 802-254-5870
NERC is an equal opportunity employer & provider
© Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 2008
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