Recycling Facts - Autodesk Design Academy

Green Garbage Game Recycling Facts
E-Waste Overview
What is e-waste? Electronic waste or e-waste consists of broken and unwanted electrical or
electronic devices and peripherals such as televisions, computers, monitors, printers, batteries,
cell phones, appliances, DVD players, lamps and more.
E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste making up five percent of all municipal solid waste
worldwide, nearly the same amount as all plastic packaging, but it is much more hazardous.
Most e-waste contains significant quantities of nonbiodegradable toxic substances. Computers,
servers, and other IT hardware contain mercury, lead, barium, arsenic, antimony, and cadmium.
Flat-panel light displays contain mercury and CRT monitors contain lead.
When it doesn’t get recycled, this untreated e-waste finds its way into landfills. Such toxic
metals seep out and contaminate the soil and water, causing health problems and polluting the
atmosphere. Incinerating e-waste produces volatilized heavy metals that cause an even more
significant public health hazard.
Much of e-waste is dumped in developing countries such as Africa, Pakistan, India, and China
where environmental regulations are less stringent. E-waste is dismantled by hand by
unprotected workers and children, and toxic waste is dumped into streams and fields.
Groundwater around the town of Guiya, China is now undrinkable due to e-waste.
Recycling or processing e-waste to remove the minerals trapped inside and reusing the rest of
the components is a great way to eliminate health and environmental hazards, conserve
natural resources, save energy, and drive economic growth.
E-waste Facts:
The total e-waste generated in the world is anywhere between 20 to 50 million tons.
Only 20% of mobile phones are recycled.
Recovering metals from used mobile phones can reduce extraction of raw metals from
the earth, saving millions of tons in mining gold, silver, bauxite, copper, lead, and other
For every million cell phones we recycle, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver,
75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by
3,657 homes in one year.
The plastics recovered from cell phones are recycled into plastic components for new
electronic devices or other plastic products such as garden furniture, license plate
frames, nonfood containers, and replacement automotive parts.
80% of U.S, e-waste is exported to China.
It is estimated that e-waste will triple in the next five to six years.
68 % of consumers stockpile their used or unwanted computers at home.
Over 112,000 computers are thrown away each day.
E-waste Quiz:
1. 40% of cell phones are recycled.
Answer: False
2. Most consumer-electronics are recycled locally.
Answer: False
3. E-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste.
Answer: True
4. E-waste includes computers, TVs, DVD players, VCRs, and lamps.
Answer: True
5. Cell phones house valuable minerals such as gold and silver.
Answer: True
e-waste information sources
Compost Overview:
Did you know that your leftover food scraps, paper, wood, and yard trimming can feed your
soil? Yard trimmings, wood, paper, and food residuals together make up 243 million tons of the
municipal, solid-waste stream in the United States. That’s a lot of leftovers and leaves!
Composting occurs naturally: end of life supporting new life by returning into the soil again.
Composting is a natural recycling process whereby tiny microorganisms and mini-beasts feed
off decomposing kitchen and garden scraps. This helps to break down the organic matter. After
six to nine months the rubbish will have turned into nutrient-rich, brown compost, ready for
use on plants and soil. You can compost almost anything that was once alive, apart from cooked
food, meat, fish, and waste of animal origin. These items can attract pests and vermin such as
flies and rats.
The great thing about composting is that it can happen anywhere, from a tiny city apartment to
a big farm. Many cities strongly encourage and even require residents to set aside their yard
waste and kitchen scraps for city composting programs.
Composting has many benefits and it is free. It greatly reduces the amount of garbage created
by each household, which means less waste sent to landfills. Experts estimate 25% to 50% of
the food we purchase ends up being thrown away! That’s a lot of lost $$, waste, and a big
impact on the environment. Composting is one of many environmentally friendly ideas that can
also save you money. By composting your household organic waste, you can cut back on
garbage bills while helping the earth.
Composting also acts as a natural fertilizer. By mixing compost into the soil, you can bring
nutrients back into the soil, or add top soil to help retain water and prevent erosion, and you
can help reduce methane gas emissions. Composting can also help clean up contaminated soils
and soils containing heavy metals. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
recommends composting to eliminate preservatives, pesticides, and chlorinated and
nonchlorinated hydrocarbons found in contaminated soil.
As yard trimmings decompose in landfills, they generate methane gas, a potentially explosive
greenhouse gas that is released as organic materials decompose. As methane leaches into the
ground, it has the potential to explode. Grasscycling returns grass clippings to your yard,
reducing waste, mowing time, and the release of methane gas, while adding nutrients back into
the earth. Say “No” to greenhouse gas and “Yes” to grasscycling!
Composting is a great way for all households to have a direct effect on reducing waste and
greenhouse gas, and feeding the soil. Put the benefits of composting to work for you by starting
your own compost pile or participating in your city's composting program.
Compost Facts:
Composting helps control pollution by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening
pesticide use.
Composting helps control erosion and polluted storm water from reaching water
resources. Composting can help clean up contaminated soils.
Mulching reuses so-called yard waste. Make mulch from chipped or shredded wood
waste or dried leaves or grass clippings.
These “green” items are ideal for composting. They are quick to rot and provide
important nitrogen and moisture: grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee
grinds and filters, tea bags, old flowers and plants, and animal manure with straw.
These “brown” items are key to creating compost, providing carbon and fiber, and for
allowing air pockets to form since they are slower to rot: paper, fallen leaves, straw, egg
shells, egg cartons, hair, twigs, sawdust, and your Christmas tree.
Keep these items out of your compost: meat, dairy, diseased plants, animal waste, coal
and ash, and plastics.
As much as 80% of the waste stream in low- and middle- income countries is
Composting is free organic fertilizer, and can be started with very little capital and operating
The climate of many developing countries is optimum for composting.
Composting addresses significant health effects resulting from organic waste such as
reducing Dengue Fever.
Composting accommodates seasonal waste fluctuations such as leaves and crop
Nearly six million tons of wood waste (for example, urban wood waste, woody debris
from suburban land clearing, and rural forestry residuals) were generated in 2003
according to the EPA.
Compost Quiz:
1. Composting is expensive and can be a hazardous to your health.
Answer: False
2. Composting meats and diary is okay.
Answer: False
3. Composting helps control diseases resulting from organic waste.
Answer: True
4. Composting reduces greenhouse gases and pesticide use.
Answer: True
5. Grasscycling is harmful to your lawn and results in greenhouse gas.
Answer: False
Composting information sources
Paper Overview:
Paper makes up 40% of the waste stream! Think about that the next time you throw away a
piece of paper! Paper is everywhere, from the paper you write on to newspapers and
magazines, product packaging, boxes, posters, notebooks, and flyers. It’s something that we
use every day, making it the top trash we throw away. That means for every 100 pounds of
trash we throw away, about 35 pounds of it is paper! Each year, more than two billion books,
350 million magazines and 24 billion newspapers are published. Recycling one morning
newspaper daily would save 41,000 trees from being cut down and would greatly reduce
carbon emissions into the air.
Paper recycling takes our old paper products such as newspapers, computer paper, magazines,
cardboard, and paper packaging and turns it into recycled paper. Making paper from recycled
paper uses 70% less energy than producing virgin paper. We create 35% less water pollution
and 74% less air pollution when producing recycled paper. It takes 98 tons of resources to
produce one ton of paper. By recycling one ton of paper, you save 17 trees.
Recycled paper can be made into:
New phone books
Cereal boxes
Animal bedding
Mailing envelopes
Home insulation
Toilet paper
Roofing shingles
Paper towels
Paper bags
Paper Facts:
The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products
made from trees. This amounts to about two billion trees per year!
If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about
25 million trees a year.
The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50
million homes for 20 years.
Approximately one billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the
To produce each week's Sunday newspapers, a half a million trees must be cut
Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75 thousand trees.
If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year
and save 14% of landfill space.
For every ton of newspaper recycled, you can save enough energy to power a
television for 31 hours.
In 2007, 35% of recovered paper was exported to overseas markets. About 62%
stayed in the U.S. to be recycled into paper and paperboard products. The
remainder was used to make other nonpaper products.
Papermaking materials in the U.S. come from:
 Recycled paper: 33%
 Whole trees and other plants: 33%
 Wood chips and scraps from sawmills: 33%
When you recycle paper, you allow more trees to thrive and supply us with healthy
oxygen to breathe.
Paper Quiz
1. Recycling newspapers would save 14% landfill space.
Answer: True
2. A half a million trees need to be cut down to produce each week’s Sunday newspaper.
Answer: True
3. The average America uses enough paper products in a year to equal one tree.
Answer: False
4. Paper can be recycled up to two times.
Answer: False
5. Recycled paper can be turned into egg cartons, newspapers, and home insulation.
Answer: True
Paper recycling information courtesy of:
Plastics Overview:
Plastics play an important role in almost every aspect of our lives. Plastics are used to
manufacture everyday products such as beverage containers, toys, and furniture. The
widespread use of plastics demands proper end-of-life management. Plastics make up more
than twelve percent of the municipal solid waste stream, a dramatic increase from 1960, when
plastics were only one percent of the waste stream.
Like nearly all recyclables, except for paper and compost, plastic also takes a long time to break
down in landfills, approximately 100 to 400 years. Plastic items are usually labeled with their
recycling number, from one to six, indicating the variety of plastic used in it.
Plastic Recycling Codes
usually clear or
green, sinks in
water, rigid, glossy
semi-rigid, sinks in
Soda bottles, peanut butter jars, vegetable
oil bottles. #1 plastic is easy to recycle and
accepted in virtually all recycling programs
Milk and water jugs, juice, and bleach
bottles. #2 plastics are also very easy to
Detergent / cleanser bottles, pipes. PVC is
used in shower curtains, children's toys,
and fashion accessories, as well as some
detergent and spray bottles. #3plastics are
not recyclable.
6-pack rings, bread bags, sandwich bags.
While curbside recycling doesn't usually
accept #4 plastic, many large grocery
chains accept shopping bags for recycling.
Yogurt and deli take out containers,
Tupperware and Rubbermaid food storage
containers. Some recycling programs
accept #5 plastic
Styrofoam, packing peanuts, egg-cartons,
foam cups, plastic silverware. Some
recycling programs accept #6 plastic.
Ketchup and syrup bottles and other items
made up of more than one kind of plastic.
It pretty much can't be recycled at all.
high density
polyvinyl chloride
semi-rigid, glossy,
sinks in water
low density
flexible, not crinkly
multi-layer plastics
semi-rigid, low gloss
often brittle, glossy
The largest category of plastics is found in containers and packaging (for example, soft drink
bottles, lids, shampoo bottles), but plastics are also found in durable (for example, appliances,
furniture) and nondurable goods (for example, diapers, trash bags, cups and utensils, medical
devices). The recycling rate for different types of plastic varies greatly. The percentages of PET
and HDPE plastics are much higher than overall plastic recycling rates.
Check with your local sanitary districts to see what plastic is accepted in your local recycling
program, and better yet, avoid using plastic!
Plastic Facts:
30 million tons of plastic waste was generated in 2009, representing 12.3% of total solid
In 2009, the United States generated 13 million tons of plastics as containers and
packaging, almost 11 million tons as durable goods, such as appliances, and almost
seven million tons as nondurable goods, for example plates and cups.
Only 7% of the total plastic waste generated in 2009 was recovered for recycling.
In the United States, 2.5 million plastic bottles are used every hour! Two thirds of them
do not get recycled.
Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as one million
sea creatures every year!
Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator would.
In the United States, 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups are thrown away every year
Recovered plastic is remade into lots of cool things, such as park benches made of
plastic lumber and fiberfill for ski jackets.
Plastic Quiz:
Plastics can be recycled forever.
Answer: False
All plastics can be recycled.
Answer: False
The United States has the highest rate of plastic recycling in the world.
Answer: False
Recovered plastics can be made into clothes and shoes and shopping bags.
Answer: True
PET or PETE and HDPE plastics are the most commonly recycled types of plastic.
Answer: True
Plastic recycling information courtesy of:
Glass Overview:
Glass, especially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. In
fact, 90% of recycled glass is used to make new containers. Recycled glass can also be used in
kitchen tiles, countertops, and wall insulation. Glass recycling has grown considerably in recent
years because of increased collection through curbside recycling programs and glass
manufacturers’ increased demand for recycled glass.
Most glass manufacturers rely on a steady supply of crushed glass that is ready to be remelted,
known as “cullet,” to supplement raw materials. To make glass, manufacturers mix sand, soda
ash, limestone, and cullet; heat the mixture to a temperature of 2,600 to 2,800 degrees
Fahrenheit; and mold it into the desired shape.
Using cullet saves money and helps the environment, because:
Cullet costs less than raw materials.
Cullet prolongs furnace life and saves energy since it melts at a lower temperature.
Less energy used means reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide, both
greenhouse gases.
Glass collected at the curbside is usually commingled, meaning that different colors and types
of glass are collected together. This glass might then be sorted by color, or other characteristics,
at a materials recovery facility. Some municipal and commercial recycling programs require
participants to separate clear, brown, and green glass. Although all glass is made of silica and
soda, the type and quantity vary slightly with different types of glass. Different melting points
and chemical incompatibility make it important to sort glass by color. Glass separated by color
yields glass cullet of higher economic value.
Glass Facts:
In the U.S., tens of millions of glass bottles and jars per year―enough glass products
that could fill a skyscraper every two weeks!
Most glass bottles and jars contain about 25% recycled glass.
Like aluminium and steel, glass can be recycled forever!
Communities that have enacted bottle deposit laws typically have about 40% less litter
by volume.
For every 2,000 pounds of glass that is recycled, we save more than 2,000 pounds of
other resources (1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of
limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar).
The United States generated 11.8 million tons of glass in the municipal solid waste
(MSW) stream in 2009. About 26% percent of the glass was recovered for recycling.
A typical glass processing facility can recycle 20 tons of color-sorted glass per hour.
Recycled glass has created glassphalt, which is much like asphalt and used in more and
more regions of the world as an alternative material as well as a source for sand that is
much needed at many beaches suffering from erosion.
By the end of 2013, new glass bottles will be made from 50% recycled material. This
step will save enough energy to power 45 thousand households for a year, and 181,550
tons of waste from landfills each month.
The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a computer for 30 minutes,
a television for three hours, and a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact
fluorescent bulb for 20 hours! It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water
pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
Glass Quiz:
Glass is made into glassphalt used to prevent beach erosion.
Answer: True
Recycling one glass bottle can power a television for three hours.
Answer: True
Glass can only be recycled once.
Answer: False
Bottle deposits discourage people from recycling glass.
Answer: False
Glass naturally breaks down and recycles in landfill.
Answer: False
Plastic recycling information courtesy of: