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A Look at the Numbers: Why Recycling Matters

It’s easy to be pessimistic when you look at statistics. After all, many statistical presentations are wielded like weapons, designed to batter debate opponents into helpless submission by the sheer volume of data that is thrown out for consumption. At other times, though, a look at these numbers can help to inform us on important matters, even if only to show us just where we stand in relation to our goals. One example of that would be in the area of recycling, where the statistics reveal not only tremendous progress, but areas where more can definitely be done.


Take recycling as a whole, for example. According to recent numbers, the United States recovers more than a third of all of the waste it generates each year. That, of course, also means that about two-thirds of our garbage ends up in landfills – an amount that totals some 160 million or more tons of trash. That’s the weight equivalent of about 90 million cars marring our landscape. Still, there is no denying that incredible progress has already been made.


Our progress in that area has come through a combination of private sector and public sector efforts. There are more than 9,000 curbside programs for recycling in the country, enabling the collection and recovery of more than 80 million tons of materials that would otherwise dot the landscape of the nation’s landfills.


Recycling enterprises employ more than a million workers in the country. Companies involved in this effort have amassed revenues in excess of hundreds of billions of dollars. Despite the worry in some quarters about the future of these recycling efforts, the economic metrics continue to present a positive outlook for future growth.


And why shouldn’t those projections be positive? While the country has yet to hit the fifty-percent recycling goal that many industry enthusiasts have targeted for some time, it is impossible to ignore the positive benefits that everyone enjoys from the success that has already been achieved. 25 percent of all glass gets recycled, 25% of all electronics are recovered for recycling, and more than 60% of all paper. Two-thirds of all steel containers are recycled as well.


The raw material from these recycled goods is used to manufacture new products that consumers buy, creating a closed loop for the entire process. That means less waste in landfills and waterways, less energy used to transform raw steel, oil, and fabric fibers into useful form, and less pollution released into our environment.


And here’s another number for you to consider: 100%. At the Earth Company, we are 100% committed to continuing this great trend in sustainable living, by producing the highest quality recycled garments available anywhere in the market today. That’s because we’re 100% certain that what we are doing in concert with other dedicated people just like you is something that benefits 100% of the people in the world.


With all of us working toward our goal of sustainable living, there is 0% chance of failure!