Facts About Consumption and Waste

In 2014, 89 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste was recycled and composted nationally. Annually, this eliminated more than 181 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions reduced which is comparable to removing the annual emissions from over 38 million passenger vehicles.  (US EPA) 

The average person creates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year  (Busch Systems) 



  • Every hour, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles. (Recycle Across America) 
  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year. (Recycle Across America) 
  • Plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down in a landfill (US EPA)




  • Seventeen trees and 6953 gallons of water can be saved by recycling just one ton of paper (Recycle America Alliance) 
  • Making copy paper from 100% recycled content fiber instead of 100% virgin forest fibers reduces total energy consumption by 44%, net greenhouse gas emissions by 38%, particulate emissions by 41%, wastewater by 50%, solid waste by 49% and wood use by 100%. Environmental Paper Network, 2007. State of the Paper Industry.
  • Seventy-five percent of a tree harvested for paper does not wind up as paper product. (State of Washington Department of Ecology)  


  • Each year, more than 350 million inkjet and laser cartridges are thrown away. (Penn Waste) 
  • Each year, 35 million cell phones are disposed of. (Penn Waste) 




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Video "Live from the Dumpster"

Watch this short video highlighting the recycling efforts of the Hoover Eco Action Team. 



A fun, high visibility 5-day campaign driving awareness and education on our own personal trash impact. Carry the Trash on Your Back wherever you go and feel just how much trash you really produce. Enable us to make a zero waste nation and globe.

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American Federation of Teachers
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Check-out AFT's Building Minds, Minding Building publications focused on energy conservationgreen cleaning and school recycling.