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Recycling Facts

Baltimore County
United States
Metal (Steel and Aluminum)
Glass
Paper
Plastic

Baltimore County

  • Baltimore County’s recycling and waste prevention program serves a population of approximately 800,000 spread out over an area of 640 square miles.
  • Baltimore County’s first recycling drop-off center opened in June 1990. Between 1993 and 1995, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management gradually implemented its “One & One” collection program for the County.  “One & One” refers to once a week trash, once a week recycling collection.
  • In 12 years (from July 1995-December 2007) Baltimore County collected 1.7 billion pounds of recyclables.
  • The County introduced single stream recycling collection (all recyclables placed in the same container) to all individual homes in February of 2010.  In October of 2010, all apartments and condominiums were brought on to the single stream program.
  • A total of 320,000 single family homes, town homes, apartments, and condominiums are serviced on a weekly basis by 47 private haulers.
  • In September 2006, Baltimore County established a permanent e-cycling site at Baltimore County Resource Recovery Facility (BCRRF) in Cockeysville.  In April 2009, Baltimore County expanded its e-cycling program to include drop off locations at the Eastern Sanitary Landfill Solid Waste Management Facility (ESL) in White Marsh, and the Western Acceptance Facility (WAF) in Halethorpe.

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United States

  • In 2007, US residents, businesses and institutions generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled or composted 85 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 33 percent recycling rate.  On average, Americans recycled and composted 1.5 pounds of individual waste generation of 4.6 pounds per person per day.
  • As of 2007, in the United States, 33 percent of solid waste is recovered and recycled or composted, 13 percent is burned at combustion facilities, and the remaining 54 percent is disposed of in landfills.
  • Recycling and composting 85 million tons of solid waste in 2007 saved the energy equivalent of more than 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline.
  • As of 2008, in the United States, approximately 8,660 curbside recycling programs exist nationwide.
  • While solid waste generation has increased from 3.66 to 4.62 pounds per person per day between 1980 and 2007, the recycling rate has also increased—from less than 10 percent in 1980 to more than 33 percent in 2007.
  • The total amount of solid waste going to landfills dropped by about 5 million tons per year from 142.3 million tons in 1990 to 137.2 million tons in 2007.

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Metal (Steel & Aluminum)

  • Aluminum beverage containers were recovered at a rate of 48 percent of generation (0.7 million tons) in 2007, and 39 percent of all aluminum in containers and packaging was recovered for recycling in 2007.
  • By recycling 7 million tons of metals in 2007 (including aluminum, steel, and mixed metals), greenhouse gas emissions totaling close to 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were eliminated. This is equivalent to removing more than 4.5 million cars from the road for one year.
  • For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a television or operate a computer for three hours.
  • Once an aluminum can is recycled, it can be part of a new can within sixty days.
  • Recycling 1 ton of aluminum saves the energy equivalent of the amount of electricity used by the average home in 10 years.

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Glass

  • About 24 percent of glass containers were recycled in 2007.
  • US residents, businesses and institutions generated 13.6 million tons of glass in 2007.

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Paper

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paper accounts for more than 40 percent of a typical landfill's contents, more than any other material.  Paper, similar to other materials, does not easily biodegrade once in a landfill.
  • In 2007, newspapers were recycled at a rate of nearly 78 percent. Approximately 72 percent of high-grade office papers and 40 percent of magazines were recycled. Forty percent of unwanted mail, 26 percent of books, and 20 percent of telephone directories were recovered for recycling as well.
  • The amount of paper being recovered far exceeds the amount sent to landfill sites. Every ton of paper that is recovered saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • To make one ton of paper using recycled fiber saves 17 trees, 360 gallons of water, 100 gallons of gasoline, and keeps 60 pounds of pollutants out of the air.

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Plastic

  • In 2007 the recycling rate was 37 percent for PET plastic soft drink bottles and 28 percent for HDPE milk and water bottles.
  • Plastics are a rapidly growing segment of the MSW stream. The largest category of plastics are found in containers and packaging (e.g., soft drink bottles, lids, shampoo bottles), but they also are found in durable (e.g., appliances, furniture) and non-durable goods (e.g., diapers, trash bags, cups and utensils, medical devices).
  • Recycling a ton of plastic bottles saves the energy equivalent of 318 gallons of gasoline.
  • Five recycled soft drink bottles makes enough fiberfill for a man’s ski jacket.  Thirty-six recycled bottles can make one square yard of carpet.
  • Recycling plastic uses 80 percent less energy than manufacturing plastic from virgin materials.

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Revised May 11, 2012

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