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  • Quick Facts & Stats
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About Waste & Recycling

In the US, we generate an average of about 4.6 pounds of municipal solid waste per person per day, of which we recycle or compost about 1/3 of, so that what is sent to landfills or combusted for energy generation is only about 3 pounds per person per dayBreakdown of what happens to our garbage

Municipal solid waste (MSW), which does not include industrial or construction waste, is made up of about 55 - 65% residential (including waste from apartments) and 35 - 45% commercial and institutional (such as schools, hospitals and businesses) generated waste

Nationally, we recycled and composted 85 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2007. This saved 1.3 quadrillion (think 15 zero's!) Btu of energy or the equivalent of 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline, which provided an annual benefit of 193 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions reduced, comparable to the annual green house gas emissions from more than 35 million passenger vehicles

In 2007, approximately 31.9 million tons of materials, or 12.6 percent of total municipal solid waste, were combusted for energy recovery

Every ton of mixed paper recycled can save the energy equivalent of 185 gallons of gasoline

Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans conserves more than 207 million Btu, the equivalent of 36 barrels of oil, or 1,665 gallons of gasoline

Recycling rates for selected types of waste

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Organic Waste

kitchen food scraps

Combine used coffee grinds and paper filters with other food scraps and garden/ landscape cuttings in your composter

Vermicomposting is effective way to recycle your kitchen food scraps that is practical even if you live in an apartment or condo

Electronic Gadgets

Several computer manufacturers have free or low cost recycling programs for any of their PC's that you have purchased, such as Dell and HP

Many municipalities in the U.S. have accept old electronics for recycling, however they typically impose a relatively small fee depending on the item and it's size

Donate your old, unused cell phones to local charities

Home Goods

When replacing your home's carpet, check with the installer about any local recycling programs

Many municipalities in the U.S. accept white goods (larger appliances such as refrigerators, washers/dryers, ovens, etc.) for recycling, often at no extra cost beyond the garbage service fee - contact your town for details of their program

Plastic Waste

recycling symbols for all plastics

You can find recycling bins for used plastics bags at most large grocery stores, which can also include all clean type 2 (HDPE) and type 4 (LDPE) bags, such as bags from:
    • drying cleaning
    • toilet paper packages
    • vegetable packs
    • bottled drinks

Many The UPS Store locations accept foamed packaging peanuts for reuse - check with your local The UPS Store for additional details

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Composters Compost thermometers

About Recycling

You can drop off all CFLs for recycling at your local Home Depot store

NJ e-Cycle

For more information on New Jersey's Electronic Waste Management Act and how to recycle
     electronic waste

Carpet America Recovery Effort

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is a joint industry-government effort to increase the
     amount of recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet and reduce the amount of waste carpet
     going to landfills. They also have tool to help you locate the carpet collection facility closest to you.

The Clorox Company, maker of Brita filter products has set-up a recycling program for used Brita filters,
     where the plastic casing for the filters is reprocessed into household plastic products, at

Another program to recycle Brita filters, and other type 5 plastics, can be found at