Are you having trouble becoming a recycler? Do you think it’s “too much trouble” or that your efforts “won’t make a difference?”

Here’s a jump start to help you become more environmentally involved. Check out these disheartening statistics (compiled from various environmental sources) and, with your conscience as your guide, you’ll be on your way – to reducing, reusing and recycling.

  • Decomposition Rates: Traffic Ticket, 2-4 weeks; Cotton Rag, 1-5 months; Rope, 3-14 months; Wool Sock, 12 months; Bamboo Pole, 1-3 years; Painted Wooden Stake, 13 years; Tin Can, 100 years; Aluminum Can, 200-500 years; Glass Bottle, undetermined, but as much as one million years.
  • Only 25 percent of glass bottles produced in America are recycled.
  • Americans discard nearly 700 million bottles each week. In two weeks, that’s enough glass to fill up both twin towers of New York City’s World Trade Center (each is 1,350 feet high).
  • The average American throws away 3.6 pounds of garbage daily. Americans toss 160 million tons of garbage each year – enough to bury 27,000 football fields in a layer of garbage 10 feet deep.
  • It takes 17 trees to make one ton of paper. We use 50 million tons of paper each year.
  • If all American households recycled newspapers, we could save a million trees every two weeks.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy required to produce a new can from ore.
  • Each American uses about 190 pounds of plastic annually – and about 60 percent of that amount is discarded as soon as the package is opened.
  • Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  • Plastic is being recycled into a variety of items, including park benches, electrical plugs, flower pots, drain pipes, pillow filling, garden hoses, trash bags and cans, bottles for non-food items, office furniture, carpet fibers and matting, and roofing insulation. Yet only one percent of all plastic is recycled.

Interesting? Yes, and a bit depressing, too. But we can make a difference. I hope these facts provide the incentive needed to begin – or continue – your environmentally friendly lifestyle.