Did You Know?

- Some wastes such as paper, aluminum, glass and steel can be recycled. Leftover food and other organic wastes can even be "recycled" or composted either at homes or business sites or at disposal sites.

- Organic wastes also contribute to greenhouse gases in landfills as they decompose, but some landfills are beginning to collect and burn the gases for fuel.

- A recent survey of developed countries gave Japan the highest rates of recycling. Japan must import many raw materials and has little land available for disposal of wastes. Other top recycling countries were Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany. France, Australia, Italy and Purtugal received middle scores, while Spain, the USA and the UK received poor scores.

- Less developed countries typically generate less waste because consumption is lower, but stronger economic incentives also encourage more informal reuse and recycling.

- Paper products make up over 40 percent of US solid waste by weight, by far the largest contributor. Every year nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.

- Food waste is the third largest component of generated waste in the US (after yard waste and corrugated boxes) and second largest component of discarded waste, after yard waste.

- Composting is the controlled decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms into a humus-like product.

- Food waste can attract rodents and other vectors. Backyard compost piles that include food wastes must be tightly controlled.

- Weyerhouser Corporation calculates that recycling 1 ton of paper can save 17 trees, 6953 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4077 Kilowatt hours of energy.

Global Youth Voice

How good is your school and community at recycling? Is your country an efficient recycler? Why do you think that is? What can you do to help reduce, reuse and recycle wastes.

Let us know what you've learned about your community recycling efforts and what you can do to make things better. Enter your learning project in our Global Youth Voice project and share your ideas with the world. You could even win our $1000 prize.

More Information

Recycle Works, San Mateo school recycling www.recycleworks.org/schools/index.html

Recycling for Kids, Teachers & Schools [1]

Many Facts and Statistics about Recycling [2]