Recycling and Energy

October is National Energy Awareness Month.  As a virtual exhibitor, CVWMA staff created this educational resource page to share how recycling saves energy for the Henrico County Fall 2020 Virtual Energy Fair.
A single bottle, box or can all matter. When you recycle you are providing resources for new products to be made from recyclables. In fact, making new products from recycled materials helps save energy! And, precious natural resources too. It’s all you. Recycling matters.

Did you know?

  • Recycling cardboard only takes 75% of the energy required to make new cardboard. Cardboard can be recycled 7 times!
  • Recycling one ton cardboard saves 390 KWH of energy, saves 1.1 barrel (46 gallons of oil, and saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. Making a beverage can from recycled aluminum reduces energy use and greenhouse gases by more than 90% compared to making one from scratch.
  • Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for 3 hours.
  • Making a food can from recycled steel means 75% less energy and greenhouse gas emissions compared to using virgin steel.
  • For every ton of glass that is recycled, over one ton of natural resources are saved- including sand, soda ash, limestone, and feldspar.
  • Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt lightbulb for four hours.
  • Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000–2,000 gallons of gasoline.
  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year.
  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
50 Interesting Recycling Facts
Recycling matters. This blog offers 50 interesting recycling facts. We all can rethink waste and reduce our impact. Visit blog.   
What else can you do to save energy? Here are some suggestions we found:

  • Lightbulbs. If every American simply replaced one light bulb with a more energy-efficient variety, we would save roughly $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That’s equal to lighting up 3 million homes and keeping 800,000 cars off the road annually.
  • Turn off the lights and electronics when you leave a room.
  • Unplug cell phone and chargers.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is for heating the water.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. With this device you can program your heater or AC right before you get home, and turn down while you are out or asleep. This can save a ton of money on utility bills, saving energy and reducing pollution—lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
Solar Energy
 What is more renewable than energy from the sun? Did you know that the amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world’s energy consumption for a full year? Here are some links that will help you to learn more.
Solar Energy Basics for Kids ( US Energy Information Association)
Solar Energy Technology Basics (US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)
Quiz: Test Your Solar IQ
Solar Energy Resource Center
Solar Power: VA Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
Wind Energy
Using grant funds, in 2013 Clover Hill High School  (Chesterfield County) had a wind turbine erected to reduce costs. The turbine is near the school’s athletic fields and football stands. Contact Michelle Huber, Earth and AP Environmental Sciences and Astronomy Instructor at the school to learn more about this wind initiative.
To learn about Wind Energy in Virginia, click here.
(This page is for educational use.)