Recycling Fast Facts

Recycled Cans
Recyclables in Big Bend's Recycling Center

Did You Know?

  • The United States is the world's #1 waste producer, creating 30% of the world's trash with only 4% of its population.
  • Contamination of recycling by things like greasy pizza boxes and dirty plastic bottles cost the industry about $700 million per year, according to some estimates. Please makes sure your recycling is clean!
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum every year to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet four times over.
  • Every Sunday, America uses the equivalent of 500,000 trees of paper to print all the Sunday edition newspapers.
  • Americans throw out enough iron and steel to continuously supply all the auto makers in the nation.
  • Enough plastic is produced in the United States each year to shrink wrap Texas..

A Win-Win Option

Recycling isn't just good for landfills and trees, it actually saves manufacturers (and YOU) money, and cuts down on the carbon emissions associated with processing the raw materials

One ton of recycled aluminum saves:

  • 14,000 kWh of electricity
  • 1,680 gallons of oil
  • 237.6 million Btu's of energy
  • 10 cubic yards of landfill space

One ton of recycled paper saves:

  • 4,100 kWh of electricity
  • 360 gallons of oil
  • 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 7,000 gallons of water
  • 17 trees

One ton of glass saves:

  • 42 kWh of electricity
  • 5 gallons of oil
  • 2 cubic yards of landfill space

One ton of plastic saves:

  • 5,774 kWh of electricity
  • 652 gallons of oil
  • 30 cubic yards of landfill space
How long does it last?

How Long Does It Last?

Have you ever thought about how long it takes for your trash to decompose? In the desert, it is a LOOONG time! If you throw cans or plastic bottles into the trash, they will live on in the Big Bend National Park landfill for many human lifetimes.

  • Please recycle to minimize what you leave behind.
  • Consider taking your trash with you when you leave Big Bend.

Learn More:

Check out or for more recycling facts, help finding your nearest recycling center, and new ways you can help reduce your own waste stream.

Last updated: August 30, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



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