The City’s newest schedule for providing curbside recycling means it could take a few years before our part of town is allowed to participate. This is unfortunate, considering that our neighborhoods are some of the most active environmentally.

This discouraging delay could cause even the most avid recycler to become indifferent about the entire process. It does take a lot of dedication and patience to keep trekking to the various collection sites. For those just beginning to recycle, thoughts of “it’s too much trouble” or “this won’t make a difference anyway” are bound to surface.

Check out these interesting and disheartening facts, which were collected from various sources. Hopefully, with your conscience as your guide, you will continue – or begin – to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Decomposition rates:

  • Traffic ticket, two to four weeks.
  • Cotton rag, one to five months.
  • Rope, three to 14 months.
  • Wool sock, one year.
  • Bamboo pole, one to three years.
  • Painted wooden stake, 13 years.
  • Tin can, 100 years.
  • Aluminum can, 200 to 500 years.
  • Glass bottle, undetermined – may be as much as one million years. Only one-quarter of the glass bottles produced in the United States are recycled. Americans discard almost 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).

If everyone recycled aluminum cans, we could save enough of the metal to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet every three months. Recycling one aluminum can save 95 percent of the energy required to produce a new can from ore (27 cans equals one pound of aluminum).

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, and bottles for non-food items.

Yet, only one percent of all plastic is recycled. Each American uses about 190 pounds of plastic each year – and about 60 percent of that amount is discarded as soon as the package is opened.

Approximately one-third of all the garbage Americans send to landfills is packaging waste. One dollar out of each $11 you spend on food goes toward packaging. If Americans reduced the amount of packaging they bring home by half, we could reduce the trash going to landfills by 15 percent and our paper use by 25 percent.