Benefits of Recycling

The benefits of recycling go far beyond the materials we keep out of the landfill. Overall, recycling can:

  • Conserve resources for the future.
  • Prevent emissions of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants.
  • Save energy.
  • Supply valuable raw materials to industry.
  • Create jobs.
  • Stimulate the development of greener technologies.
  • Reduce the need for new landfills and incinerators.


Conserving Resources

  • Every ton of paper recycled a year saves 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water.
  • Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.
  • Recycling one ton of glass saves the equivalent of 10 gallons of oil.

Reducing Pollution

  • According to the U.S. EPA, methane is the second largest source of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, and landfills account for 37% of methane gas output. By reducing and recycling properly organic materials, including paper, we can divert them from landfill, thereby reducing anaerobic decomposition and the production of methane gas.

Energy Savings

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
  • The recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
  • For every pound of steel recycled, it can save enough energy to light a 60-watt bulb for 24 hours.
  • Every ton of paper recycled can save up to 4200 kilowatt hours of energy.

Economics Benefits

  1. A Diverse Industry...Recycling Means Business in California
  2. Economic Benefits...Recycling Adds Greater Economic Value than Throwing It All Away
  3. Job Creation...Recycling Creates More Jobs than Landfilling
  4. Urban Renewal...Recycling Creates Opportunities for Urban Renewal
  5. Economic Growth...Recycling Generates Business Growth in
  6. Business Efficiency...Waste Reduction and Recycling Increase Business Efficiency and Competitiveness
  7. Product Innovation...Recycling Encourages Product Innovation
  8. Saving Business Money...Waste Reduction and Recycling Mean Cost Savings for Business in California
  9. Saving Public Dollars...Waste Reduction and Recycling Are Cost Effective for Local Government
  10. The Environment...Waste Reduction and Recycling Protect California's Environment

Cost Savings
For many businesses, recycling has proven to be cost effective--using less energy to obtain and process materials, and reducing pollution and waste management costs. Here are a few examples:

  • Every year, the makers of shipping pallets consume half of all hardwood and 10% of all lumber used nationally. At Eastman Kodak, redesigned shipping pallets and altered stacking patterns saved over 7 million pounds of wood and $380,000 in a single year.
  • At Hewlett-Packard's Roseville manufacturing facility, 93% of packaging waste generated is now re-used or recycled, saving the computer giant $1.45 million in disposal costs.

Recycling saves energy throughout the production cycle because recycled materials require less processing than raw "virgin" materials.