If you throw a plastic bottle in the trash today, that bottle will sit in a landfill—or worse, float in the ocean—for thousands of years. No one knows what Earth—or humans—will be like in thousands of years. But that plastic bottle will still be a plastic bottle!

So why do Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour? And why do they throw most of them in the trash? They can be recycled!

Here are some other “trash” items that can be recycled:


Making a ton of new paper from recycled paper saves up to 17 trees and uses 50 percent less water than does creating new paper from trees.


If we recycled all our aluminum cans for one year, we could save enough energy to light Washington, D.C. for 3.7 years. The amount of aluminum currently recycled in 1 year is enough to rebuild our entire airplane commercial fleet every 6 months.


The energy saved by recycling one glass bottle can light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or run a computer for 30 minutes.


In 2008, Americans recycled 7 million tons of metals, eliminating the equivalent of nearly 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or taking 4.5 million cars off the road for one year.

It’s important to recycle or reuse as many materials as possible. It saves energy. It saves Earth’s resources. It saves the land and the oceans from being over-run with garbage.


Reduce the amount of materials you use, which reduces the amount of waste you create.

Reuse materials when possible.

Recycle whenever possible.

Rethink the materials you use and those you throw away.

By thinking about what we're using and how to reduce the wast we produce, we can help create a cleaner, healthier environment.