How Much Energy Does Recycling Save?
by Milton Kazmeyer
Recycling five 2-liter PET bottles produces enough fiberfill for a ski jacket.
One of the most efficient forms of recycling is aluminum recycling. Aluminum can be reused repeatedly and requires very little processing to make it available for reuse. Manufacturers simply melt down crushed aluminum stock and add it to freshly extracted aluminum without any degradation of quality in the finished product. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling an aluminum can requires less than 5 percent of the energy that would be expended in creating a similar can out of fresh bauxite ore. The Aluminum Association estimates that the energy saved in recycling a single aluminum can could power a television for 3 hours.
Seven major types of plastic are found in consumer products, and recycling can extend
the use of most of them. Recycling plastic requires only a tenth of the energy needed to create new plastic from raw materials, according to Mike Biddle, president of MBA Polymers. (See References 4.)
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