Recycling Fast Facts

Recycled Cans
Recyclables in Big Bend's Recycling Center

NPS Photo/Lori Michelowski

  • 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..

Recycling isn't just good for landfills and trees, it actually saves manufacturers 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
  • 10cubic yards of landfill space

One ton of paper:

  • 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:

  • 5,774 kWh of electricity
  • 652 gallons of oil
  • 30 cubic yards of landfill space
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: December 3, 2013

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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


(432) 477-2251

Contact Us