Solid Waste Trivia


  • The U.S. generates 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year.
  • That's 4.3 pounds per person per day.
  • In 1999, citizens and businesses in Washington generated approximately 6.5 million tons or 7.78 pounds of waste per person per day.


  • 40% of all recycled steel in the U.S. comes from automobiles (2000).
  • 60 - 80% of the average new lead acid vehicle battery is made from recycled lead and plastic.
  • Each year we recycle about three-fourths of the glass containers we use.

Recycling & Energy

  • It takes 95% less energy to produce aluminum from recycled cans than form ore. The energy saved from one recycled aluminum can will operate a television set for three hours.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 6953 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, and 4077 kilowatt hours of energy.
  • Recycling glass reduces energy use by up to 32%, uses 50% less water, and causes 20% less air pollution and 80% less mining waste.
  • Recycling a ton of standard materials-such as glass, cans and bottles-saves an average of $187 worth of electricity and other energy sources. That's even after accounting for the energy used to collect and transport the materials.
  • Recycling saves watts-and your wallet. When you recycle, you produce less garbage. The less garbage you create, the lower your garbage bills and the more energy for all of us.

Hazardous Waste

Motor oil does not wear out. It does get dirty and the additives are consumed. Re-refined oil has been cleaned, re-distilled and combined with fresh additives. It is as good as new motor oil and it conserves resources.

Used oils that can be used as fuel in a waste oil burner include:
  • Engine crankcase oil
  • Industrial hydraulic fluid
  • Transmission fluid
An old computer monitor contains approximately 1.5 pounds of lead. Technically this means that a used monitor is hazardous waste. (We will be hearing more on this in the future.)


The Composition of Litter (2000, Institute for Applied Research):
  • 30% Miscellaneous paper and plastic
  • 20% Take out food packaging
  • 10% Snack food wrappers
  • 8.6% Beverage containers
  • 31.4% Other
Most litter does not originate from people deliberately throwing trash out of car windows. Most litter is a result of inadequate containment, either while in storage or in transit to a disposal site. Put loose trash in bags, cover those loads and cover those cans.