What We Really Save by Recycling

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We all know recycling is a good idea. But tossing that plastic bottle into the blue bin seems so simple, it’s easy to lose perspective about how much of a difference it can make. To prove how much impact recycling can truly have on our planet, Earth911 broke down 10 common materials and showed you how much energy, water and other natural resources can be saved by recycling them.


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1. Aluminum Cans

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Photo: Earth911
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Americans use billions of aluminum beverage cans every year. The good news is that aluminum can be infinitely recycled back into new cans, and a great deal of energy and other resources can be saved by recycling it.

Last year, Americans recycled 61 billion aluminum cans, saving the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s a whole lot of recovered resources!

So, how was all that energy saved? To put it simply, manufacturing cans from recycled aluminum consumes 95 percent less energy than using virgin materials.

To put those figures in perspective, recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.

Reuse Before Recycling: 8 Ways to Reuse Your Cans

Learn more facts about aluminum can recycling from Earth911.

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