While it’s easy to feel quite small in this huge world we live in, I try to be mindful, striving to live positively as I interact with people and the Earth. I realize something as simple as a smile might lift someone’s spirits. I also take great efforts to live and consume conservatively, as our environment is fragile and our natural resources limited. While it’s always important to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse first, when I look at the numbers I’m astounded by the positive influence of just One Recycler.
When I recycle a single aluminum can, I save enough energy to power a TV for three hours. The average American has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime! It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials and a recycled can typically is back on the grocery shelves within 60 days.
By recycling one plastic bottle, you save enough energy to power a 60-watt bulb for six hours. And if you recycle one glass jar, you could save enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. Just one! It takes 70% less energy to recycle plastic than to produce it from raw materials and 40% less energy for glass.
Now consider paper. The average American use about 680 pounds of paper per year, over a ton in less than four years. Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 thirty foot (pulp) trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 65% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution.
According to 2011 EPA figures, an average American generates 4.7 pounds per person per day and 75% of that is reusable or recyclable. What a great opportunity to conserve energy, reduce air and water pollution, reduce greenhouse gases, and conserve our natural resources while creating jobs.
Once you start recycling and realize your positive contribution, you will likely teach your children and tell your friends. From there your positive influence grows exponentially. Never ever underestimate the Power of One!