Recycling Facts

Fast Facts About Recycling & Sustainability


According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), recycling in Pennsylvania in 2005 saved over 98 trillion BTUs of energy, enough to power 941,000 houses. In 2019, Penn Waste’s state of the art recycling facility processed more than 180,000 tons of recyclable material, preserving our world for future generations. We work with residents and businesses across South Central PA to create a green community together.

Each piece of material you recycle makes a positive impact on the environment. Below are just a few facts about how recycling can improve our world.

Plastic Recycling Facts

For each ton of plastic recycled we save the equivalent of…

  • The energy used by 2 people in 1 year.
  • The amount of water used by 1 person over two months.
  • 2,000 pounds of oil.

Enough plastic is produced in the United States each year to shrink wrap Texas.

Enough plastic bottles are thrown away in the United States each year to circle the Earth four times.

Metal Recycling Facts

Every pound of steel recycled saves 5,450 BTU’s of energy…

  • Enough to light a 60-watt bulb for over 26 hours.
  • Recycling just one can saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, and a TV for 2 hours.

Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

Americans throw out enough iron and steel to continuously supply all the auto makers in the entire nation.

Paper Recycling Facts

Recycling one ton of paper would …

  • Save enough energy to power the average American home for 6 months.
  • Save 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Save 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton of carbon equivalent (MTCE).
  • Save 17 mature trees.
  • Save 2 barrels of oil.
  • Save 4,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.
  • Produce enough energy to power the average American home for 5 months.

Did You Know …

  • the process of recycling paper instead of making it from new materials generates 74% less air pollution and uses 50% less water?
  • over 73% of all newspapers are recovered for recycling?
  • the United States makes up only 4% of the world’s population, yet it is the #1 producer of garbage?
  • in 2011, Americans generated more than 283 MILLION tons of garbage?
  • it takes a glass bottle approximately 1,000,000 YEARS to break down in a landfill?

Tips to Reduce Waste

You’ve learned your ABCs but have you learned your RRRs? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. At Penn Waste we’re committed to making a difference in not only how we handle waste, but in the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill.

You can do your part by following these simple steps:

  • Use products made with recycled materials.
  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs and rechargeable batteries.
  • Shop with cloth bags.
  • Reuse plastic bags, cups, containers, etc.
  • Repair items instead of throwing them away.
  • Compost your food and yard waste.

Get more recycling facts and tips on reducing your waste impact at

Recycling Creates Jobs

The recycling business employs collectors, sorters, processors, manufacturers, designers, scientists, administrators and researchers. Recycling plants train and employ four workers for every single worker that the landfill and waste management industry maintains.