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Energy and the environment explained Recycling and energy

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling often saves energy and natural resources.

Natural resources include land, plants, minerals, and water. When we use materials more than once, we conserve natural resources.

Recycling saves energy and other resources

Making a product from recycled materials almost always requires less energy than is required to make the product from new materials. For example, using recycled aluminum cans to make new aluminum cans uses 95% less energy than using bauxite ore, the raw material aluminum is made from.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling one ton of paper could:

  • Save enough energy to power the average American home for six months
  • Save 7,000 gallons of water
  • Save 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one metric ton (2,205 pounds) of carbon equivalent

Kids recycling

Source: Stock photography (copyrighted)

Last updated: August 17, 2022