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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Green Space: Waste and its Impact

<rleton is committed to reducing its waste output to ultimately achieve zero-waste. We have comprehensive one-stream recycling, compost, and various other recycling programs.

However, no matter how many programs are installed and what the administration commits to, we can’t achieve our goal without the active participation of the student body. Here are some facts to help you think about the importance of reducing, recycling, composting, and reusing:

•  The average American threw out 4.9 lbs of trash every day in 2009 (EPA).
•  36 billion aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million (Container Recycling Institute (CRI)).
•  In 2009, 82 million tons of waste were recycled and composted, preventing the release of approximately 178 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 33 million cars off the roads in a year (EPA).
• Recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy than making new aluminum (CRI).
•  That year 1.3 quadrillion Btu of energy, the equivalent of 224 million barrels of oil, was also saved (EPA).
•  Glass can be recycled again and again with no loss in quality or purity because it is 100% recyclable (Missouri Recycling Association (MORA)).
•  The energy saved by recycling one glass bottle can light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or run a computer for 30 minutes (Glass Packaging Institute).
•  Only 7.1% of plastics were recycled in the US in 2008 (EPA).

There are many benefits to recycling and averting waste from simply going to landfills. However, though properly disposing of  waste is extremely important, reducing consumption is also important to keep in mind. Starting with less stuff means less stuff to deal with later.

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