Recycling Saves Energy
- Be sure to recycle all your aluminum beverage cans.
- Buy products with less packaging or packages that can be recycled in your community.
Energy savings are a very important environmental benefit of recycling, because using energy requires the consumption of scarce fossil fuels and involves emissions of numerous air and water pollutants. The steps in supplying recycled materials to industry (including collection, processing and transportation) typically use less energy than the steps in supplying virgin materials to industry (including extraction, refining, transportation and processing).
Additional energy savings associated with recycling accrue in the manufacturing process itself, since the materials have already undergone processing. Recycling in Pennsylvania in 2005 saved over 98 trillion BTUs of energy, enough to power 941,000 houses.
Recycling paper cuts energy usage in half. Every pound of steel recycled saves 5,450 BTUs of energy, enough to light a 15-watt compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb for over 100 hours. Recycling a ton of glass saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil. Recycling used aluminum cans requires only about five percent of the energy needed to produce aluminum from bauxite. Recycling just one can saves enough electricity to light a 25 CFLbulb for 14 hours.