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Some Earth Day Statistics May Surprise You

As the world celebrates Earth Day, our carbon footprints are being looked at with some scrutiny.


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Sure, nobody's perfect.  But over the years being environmentally conscious via recycling and reusing products has become much easier and therefore more popular.

Some of the most effective ways environmental groups have gotten their message out is through education. Today is no different, as nearly every single global concern can be described in every day scenarios. Now, to be fair, some facts are merely estimations by agencies and groups, but they help to perhaps paint a picture of our average use of resources.

Some of these facts can be shocking. For example, according to ecocycle.com, recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, two barrels of oil, 4,100 kilowatts of energy, 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space, and 60 pounds of air pollution.

Also, the EPA estimates that about 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our nationwide recycling rate is just 28%.

Here are some other environmentally friendly tidbits from the EPA, ecocycle.com, www.oberlin.edu, and others.

  • If you need to warm up or defrost food use a microwave. Microwaves use half the energy of a stove.

  • De-inked paper fiber is the most efficient source of fiber for the manufacturing of new paper products

  • Many idle electronics still use energy to power clocks. In fact they use 5% of our domestic energy and cost consumers more than 8 billion annually.

  • The 36 billion cans landfilled last year have a value of more than $600 million.

  • Americans use 100 million steel and aluminum cans daily.

  • Glass never wears out, it can be recycled forever. We save over a ton of resources when we recycle one ton of glass; 1330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone and 151 pounds of feldspar.

  • Every year we use enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.

  • If every American just recycled one out of every ten HDPE bottles we'd keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills every year.

  • Styrofoam is un-recyclable -you can't make it into new Styrofoam.

  • If only 100,000 people stopped their junk mail, we could save up to 150,000 trees annually. If a million people did this we'd save a million and a half trees. (www.fedex.com)

  • The average American still spends 8 full months of his/her life opening junk mail. (www.fedex.com)

  • For every $11 Americans spend for food, $1 goes for packaging. (www.fda.gov).

  • One gallon of used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water.

  • When you toss out one aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you'd filled the same can half full of gasoline and poured it into the ground (www.wm.com).

  • Lighting consumes up to 34% of electricity in the United States.

  • Improperly sealed/calked windows can account for up to 25% of total heat loss from a house.

  • A full bath tub requires 70 gallons of water, while taking a five minute shower uses 10-25 gallons of water.

  • Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to power your TV for 3 hours.

  • A recent government survey showed that at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013.

  • Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population more than doubled, however, the demand for water nearly tripled.

  • The typical single family suburban household uses at least 30 gallons of water for outside irrigation. Some experts estimate that 50 percent of landscaping water goes to waste via evaporation and runoff due to over watering.