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Re: [GreenYes] Petroleum used for plastics
Source: Deborah Orrill, CIWMB <>

How can recycling conserve energy?

        If you look at the big picture of what it takes to create a 
product from scratch - to get the raw materials, transport them, process 
them and manufacture them - making goods with recycled materials like 
paper, plastic, glass and metal is a major energy saver.

        A Seattle economist, Jeffrey Morris, has really looked at 
this.  He estimates that manufacturing one (1) ton of office and computer 
paper with recycled paper stock can save nearly 3,000 kilowatt hours over 
the same ton of paper made with virgin wood products.

        A ton of PET plastic containers made with recycled plastic 
conserves about 7,200 kilowatt hours.

        A ton of soda cans made with recycled aluminum saves an amazing 
21,000 kilowatt hours by reducing the virgin bauxite (bo-zite) ore that 
would have to be mined, shipped and refined.  That's a 95 percent energy 

        One recycled aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a 
computer for three hours.

        The San Diego County Office of Education has figured out that 
recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light 
bulb for four (4) hours.

        The Steel Recycling Institute has some impressive figures, too. 
Steel is the number-one recycled material in the U.S. and each year, steel 
recycling saves enough energy to electrically power the equivalent of 18 
million homes for a year.  Sure makes you appreciate that can of peaches, 
doesn't it?

How might recycling help create energy?

        Recycling can help create energy by providing the raw materials we 
need to generate electricity.

        Some of the ways we can do that include converting methane gas 
from landfills to energy, transforming old tires into electricity at 
special plants, and using organic materials like wood chips and forestry 
and agriculture waste to fuel biomass plants that, in turn, generate 
electricity to power California homes and businesses.

        The Waste Board is looking at all of these possibilities and 
working closely with the Governor's Office to meet California's energy 
needs on all fronts.
From: "Orrill, Deborah" <>
To: "'Gary Liss'" <>
Subject: RE: [GRRN] Energy Savings from Recycling
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 16:08:28 -0700

Here are some additional references that may prove useful.
Good Luck!
Deborah Orrill
Public Information Officer
California Environmental Protection Agency
Integrated Waste Management Board
Office of Public Affairs
1001 I Street, 22nd Floor - 44C
Sacramento, CA 95812
(916) 341-6753
At 09:54 AM 09/25/01 -0500, C E F G wrote:

>Steen, Terri wrote:
> >
> > So far I haven't been able to find any Internet resources that answer the
> > question "how much petroleum do we use to make consumer plastics?"  (or
> > words to that effect) and while I move on to "how much energy can we save
> > recycling plastics, cans, and cardboard?" Is it a
> > significant amount?  Does recycled plastic make a dent in this amount?
>Before going any further let me state that I do support recycling and
>several of the other waste minimization efforts.  I do not only provide my
>support based on the economic analysis that the waste industry(haulers and
>landfills) are constantly attempting to undermine.  In a very simplistic way
>"it does not make common sense to throw away resources"  examples being
>cardboard, cans, and metals to name a few.
>My concerns with the saving's discussed so far are WHO has written some of
>the reports?  Perhaps those who are promoting their own agenda?  Also we see
>the savings stated in kilowatts and other measures that are very difficult
>for the average person to understand.  How many people know "how many
>aluminum cans are in a ton and what does the ton look like?" (please do not
>answer this anyone).
>I do know what 6-24 beverage cans look like in my home.  Everyone needs to
>keep some of these "saving statements" simple and easy for the public to
>So far in the answers to the question from Terri, I am not sure that the
>full costs to collect the recyclables, process them(baling, etc) and
>shipping to the remanufacturing facilities are taken into account.
>Apples-to-Apples comparisons are a must and please keep it simple and easy
>to understand.  Tell me about a
>100-watt light bulb and how long it will stay on in my home.
>Regards, C. William
>To post to the greenyes list,
>email to:
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Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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