Americans produced 40 BILLION pounds of plastic in 2006
Americans recycled 5.3% (2 Billion pounds) of that plastic
Plastic waste occupies 25% of landfill space by volume
Plastic waste occupies 11% of landfill space by weight
As the prices of oil and other raw materials rise, recycled products become more attractive. Consider that 8% of global oil production is siphoned off to make plastic each year. Recycled plastic, however, requires 80% less energy to produce. Recycled aluminum burns up 95% less energy. Recycled iron and steel use 74% less, while paper requires 64% less. The money piles up quickly: One ton of recycled aluminum saves an average of $700 in electricity. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that if the recycling rate were to increase by just five points, to 35%, this would save the equivalent of almost 2 billion gallons of gasoline annually.