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Lighting Seattle since 1905 Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent
Seattle City Light Conservation | Tip of the Day

Tip 17 - One More Time
U.S. citizens recycle less than 10 percent of their trash while Europeans recycle as much as 60 percent of theirs. We all use products made from natural resources -- paper, aluminum, glass -- and know that recycling saves natural resources and and conserves space in garbage dumps. But one of the hidden benefits of recycling is the energy that it saves.
  • Making recycled paper uses 30 percent to 55 percent less energy than making paper from trees.
  • If you recycle a foot-tall stack of newspapers, you save enough energy to take a hot shower every day for a week. And considerable energy is saved by not trucking garbage to distant landfills.
  • Other benefits of recycling: 95 percent less air pollution.
  • Americans already recycle 24 millions tons of paper a year, 29 percent of the paper we use. But there's room to improve. More than 50 million tons worth of room, in fact.
  • Recycled glass uses only two-thirds the energy needed to manufacture glass from raw materials.
  • For every soft-drink bottle you recycle, you save enough energy to run a television set for an hour and a half.
  • Refillable bottles don't need to be melted down before they're reused so they save four times as much energy, according to a study for the Commission of European Communities.
  • Only 27 percent of the glass used in the United States is recycled, and there's no reason it can't be higher.
  • It takes enormous amounts of electricity to refine aluminum from its ore. That's why most aluminum plants are built in areas with cheaper electricity, such as the Pacific Northwest.
  • Recycling aluminum requires only a tenth as much electricity as making the same aluminum from bauxite ore.
  • Discarding an aluminum can wastes as much energy as if you filled the can half full of gasoline and poured it on the ground.
  • It takes barely as much energy as there is in a tablespoon of gasoline to recycle that can.
  • Recycle. Set up an area to save newspapers, glass and aluminum.
  • Separate them from your garbage. Ask your local recycler whether to sort the colored and clear glass separately.
  • Recycle the paper, aluminum and glass however it's accomplished in your area: at supermarkets, by curbside pickup, at recycling centers.
  • Organize a fund-raising drive to collect recyclables and donate the proceeds toward your favorite charity. Or, if there isn't a recycling program in your community, set one up.
  • Given a choice, buy recycled products instead of those made of virgin materials.
  • Urge your local newspaper to print on recycled paper.
  • Re-use grocery paper or plastic bags, or turn them in for cash.
  • Seattle Public Utilities, 206-684-3000. For recycling and composting information, and curbside signups.
  • Paper Recycling Committee, American Paper Institute, 260 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. 212-340-0600. Free pamphlets on recycling paper.
  • Glass Packaging Institute, 1801 K St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006. 202-887-4850. Free pamphlets about glass recycling.
  • Environmental Defense Fund, 1616 P St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Its book, Coming Full Circle, offers a good approach to setting up a recycling program, with many inspiring examples.

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