People make a lot of excuses when it comes to not recycling, and one of those is the idea that one person’s contributions don’t really matter. But consider that the average American’s recycling of 1.51 pounds a day adds up to 551 pounds a year, which is the height of two school buses stacked end to end. That suddenly seems like a much bigger deal, right?

A family recycles enough waste to match the Statue of Liberty in height, and the country recycles the equivalent, in pounds, of 697,000 blue whales — which is also enough to reach to the moon, and back, 10 times.

Next time someone says the impact of recycling is negligible, show them this illustration from SaveOnEnergy of just how it adds up:

Visualizing the impact of recycling
Infographic: SaveOnEnergy

Just what is everyone recycling? Cans, bottles, paper and cardboard all have pretty high recycling rates. Across all demographics, women are slightly more likely to recycle than men.

Infographic: SaveOnEnergy

Now that you’ve seen the impact of recycling visually, how much do you recycle every year? Is it taller than your trash pile? Tall enough to tower over the Statue of Liberty? Whatever the amount, it matters.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
5 Excuses People Make for Not Recycling (And Why They’re Wrong)
See Just How Much Food You — Yes, You — Are Wasting
The 5 Most Interesting Things We Learned About Recycling from a Pew Study

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.