Benefits of Recycling

Yes, we know! There’s a bunch of benefits of recycling. Whether you’re trying to convince a friend of the importance of recycling or working on a neighborhood recycling plan, this webpage outlines the tremendous benefits of recycling. Did you know recycling…

Creates Jobs

  • Recycling supports 5,000 jobs in Mississippi, nearly 2,000 of which are manufacturing jobs.
  • Recycling just 1% of the 4 million tons of municipal solid waste disposed of each year in the state can create 100 new jobs for Mississippians.

Lowers Costs

  • The energy saving efficiencies in using recycled material in manufacturing provide a cost savings that gives facilities a competitive edge in the global market. This advantage has been shown to effectively create jobs, even in the worst of times. From 2008 to 2010, recycling jobs in North Carolina increased five percent while the state and the country suffered the deepest recession of our lifetime.
  • Mississippians annually spend an estimated $70 million to dispose of recyclables worth approximately $200 million.

Improves Our Quality of Life

  • An estimated 60% of Mississippians have access to recycling services (including both drop-off and curbside recycling programs). Comparing this percentage with the national average of 96% shows that we have great potential for growth in the recycling industry in Mississippi through increased collection of materials.

Conserves Our Resources

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 380 gallons of oil, 4000 kilowatts of energy, 7000 gallons of water and 17 trees.
  • For every ton of steel recycled, we conserve 1400 lbs of coal, 2500 lbs of iron ore, and 120 lbs of limestone.
  • Recycling one ton of cardboard can save around 46 gallons of oil.
  • Recycling one ton of plastics can conserve up to 3.8 barrels of crude oil.

Uses Energy Wisely

  • Recycling paper results in a 64% energy savings and 58% water usage savings over the processing of virgin pulp.
  • Recycling aluminum requires only about 5% of the energy to produce aluminum from bauxite ore.
  • Recycling just one aluminum can conserve enough energy to power your television for 3 hours.
  • Every pound of steel recycled saves 5,450 BTU’s of energy enough to power a 60-watt light bulb for over 26 hours
  • Recycling cardboard takes 24% less energy than making cardboard from raw materials.
  • Producing new plastic products from recycled materials uses 2/3 less energy than making products from raw (virgin) materials.
  • Recycling one pound of PET bottles (water and soft drink) saves around 12,000 BTU’s of energy.

Reduces Pollution

  • Recycling one ton of paper also results in 60 pounds less air pollutants than processing virgin pulp.
  • Recycling steel scrap results in 85% less air emissions and 76% less water pollution than processing virgin iron ore.
  • Recycling cardboard produces 50% less sulfur dioxide.
  • EPA air emissions modeling has shown that our current recycling rates offer the equivalent air emissions reductions to taking almost 40 million cars off the road.

Reduces Waste

  • Recycling one ton of paper saves 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • Recycling one ton of plastics saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • It takes 700 years for a plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill.
  • For every ton (2,000 pounds) of cardboard that we recycle, we can save nine cubic yards of landfill space.
  • About 1/3 of an average landfill is made up of packaging material.

Attracts New Manufacturers

  • There are 362 Southeastern manufacturers who rely upon recycled feedstock to develop new consumer goods. These manufacturing plants employ over 90,000 people and generate over $40 Billion annually in sales. Unfortunately, many of these facilities must turn to sources outside of the southeast for recyclable materials to serve as feedstock for their plants. For example, the largest HDPE Plastics (milk jugs and detergent bottles) recovery plant in the world, KW Plastics, is just across the state line in Troy, Alabama. The amount of HDPE plastics currently collected and delivered from the States of Alabama and Mississippi combined to the plant for recycling only supply the plant for approximately 2 days. This means that the plant must go outside of the southeastern U.S. for its recovered plastics supply.
  • In Mississippi alone 11 manufacturing facilities are reliant upon recycled material. These factories generate $2 Billion annually.

It’s all of these reasons that the Mississippi Recycling Coalition is working to promote and grow recycling efforts across our state. Learn more about what we do. Or even better, join our coalition!