Upcycle Innervation

Introducing the world of re-purposing material and creating a product of quality

Facts and Stats

Up-Cycling T-Shirts

Every pound of clothing collected  translates directly into significant environmental benefits.  The most obvious benefit, of course, is the open space that has been spared because there were 100 million fewer pounds of waste dumped on the land ( approximately 100 million pounds of clothing is produced every year statewide).

Next, there has been far less insecticide released into the environment.  That is because by reusing clothing rather than disposing of it. The need for growing more cotton or other materials needed to produce the fabric for making 100 million pounds of new clothes, is eliminated.  Given that approximately 0.02 pounds of pesticides are used to produce one pound of new clothes, there was approximately 2 million pounds fewer insecticides that could wash into waterways or otherwise harm the environment. These insecticides would have included some of the most hazardous nerve agents on the planet, namely, aldicarb, parathion, and methamidopho, which are used to protect cotton (the most commonly grown source of textile fiber) from being damaged by insects.

Speaking of waterways, according to the World Bank, 17-20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to textile dyeing and treatment.  In addition, the production of fabric consumes a surprising quantity of fresh water.  One T-shirt, for example, consumes about 700 gallons of water.  Put into perspective, Americans drink 8.4 billion gallons of bottled water per year.  By not having to collect and dispose of an extra 100 million pounds of municipal waste in the form of unwanted clothing, we save municipalities millions of dollars in associated costs.

Perhaps the most important impact has to do with stopping the acceleration of global warming. 

The greenhouse effect, as it is sometimes called, is associated with increasing amounts of CO2 released into the atmosphere. We normally think of CO2 as coming from our car’s tailpipe or an industrial smokestack. However, when solid waste such as textiles are buried in landfills they naturally release greenhouse gases as they decompose.  Similarly, at the other end of the clothing life-cycle spectrum, the production of textile fibers and the manufacture of cloth burns considerable quantities of fuel that releases CO2 into the atmosphere. How much CO2 is saved through clothing reuse?  Approximately 3-4 pounds of CO2 are saved for every 1 pound of clothing that is spared from disposal.  This means that we effectively save 300-400 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere for every 100 million tons collected annually.  This is the equivalent of taking 26,000-35,000 cars off the road (According to the U.S. EPA, a passenger car emits about 11,450 pounds of CO2 a year on average).

How does this relate to you? Let’s say you fill a small plastic bag with 10 pounds of unwanted clothes. By donating or Up-Cycling this single bag you have thus prevented 30-40 pounds of C02 gases from polluting the atmosphere.  You also would have saved 14,000 gallons of water, and avoided the dispersal of a significant quantity of insecticides. The upshot is that such seemingly small acts are not to be taken lightly.

Re-cycling Glass

 Annually 12 million tons of glass was generated in the United States, and 3 million tons estimated, gets recovered.

Americans throw away almost 9 million tons of glass. That amount could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back!

Resources

Over a ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar.

That means that Americans wasted around 11 million pounds of sand with the glass bottles discarded in 2009. That amount could fill every room in the White House with sand 12 feet deep!

Recycled Content

Glass container manufacturers use up to 70% recycled glass, or “cullet.”

Gullet: recycled broken or waste glass used in glass-making

A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days.

Energy

Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes, or a television for 20 minutes.

Use of cullet in place of raw material saves energy because it melts at a lower temperature. That means it also emits less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, two greenhouse gasses.

 

ALUMINUM RECYCLING

In 2009, 3.4 million tons of aluminum were generated in the U.S. and .69 million tons were recovered.

In the United States, over 100,000 aluminum cans are recycled each minute. That amounts to 53 billion cans recycled in 2010. However, over $1.1 billion in aluminum cans were wasted in 2010.

The aluminum cans recycled in 2010, stacked one on top of the other, would be 1,454 times taller than the Empire State Building.

If you laid all the aluminum cans recycled in 2010 end to end, they could circle the earth 169 times!

The U.S. recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans reached 58.1% in 2010- a rate that is more than double that of any other beverage container.

RECYCLED CONTENT

Aluminum cans have 68% recycled content.

Used aluminum cans are recycled and back on the shelf as new cans in as few as 60 days.

ENERGY

Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore.

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your television for three hours.

The amount of energy saved just from recycling cans in 2010 is equal to the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil, or nearly two days of all U.S. oil imports.
RESOURCES

The pollutants created in producing one ton of aluminum include 3,290 pounds of red mud, 2,900 pounds of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), 81 pounds of air pollutants and 789 pounds of solid wastes.

Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline.

 

 

ELECTRONICS RECYCLING

In 2009, 25% of all electronics at the end of their useful “lives” were collected for recycling.

Approximately 38% (by weight) of all computers ready for “end-of-life management” in 2009 were collected for recycling.

Only 17% (by weight) of all televisions at their “end-of-life” were recovered for recycling in 2009.

Only 8% (by weight) of all mobile phones no longer in use in 2009 were collected for recycling.

The average consumer replaces their mobile phone every 20.5 months.

 

GLASS RECYCLING

In 2009, 12 million tons of glass was generated in the United States, and 3 million tons were recovered.

In 2009, Americans threw away almost 9 million tons of glass. That amount could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back!

RESOURCES

Over a ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar.

That means that Americans wasted around 11 million pounds of sand with the glass bottles discarded in 2009. That amount could fill every room in the White House with sand 12 feet deep!

RECYCLED CONTENT

Glass container manufacturers use up to 70% recycled glass, or “cullet.”

A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days.

ENERGY

Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes, or a television for 20 minutes.

Use of cullet in place of raw material saves energy because it melts at a lower temperature. That means it also emits less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, two greenhouse gasses.

2 thoughts on “Facts and Stats

  1. Interesting facts you got here. I hope it will encourage people to recycle more. #cs5711

    Like

  2. I’m doing a speech about upcycling and would like to use your article. I would like to cite it.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s