Use these fact sheets as a resource for information on the benefits, processes and tips for better recycling.
- Compostable Plastics (PDF 438Kb) - New containers that look like conventional plastics but are labeled "biodegradable," "compostable" or "polylactic acid (PLALA)" have appeared in delis, grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. As well-meaning businesses work to green their practices, many are turning to these new, often corn-based products, called "bioplastics."
- Economy (PDF 434Kb) - Recycling materials that otherwise would be thrown away brings significant economic benefits. The process of turning collected materials into new products creates a chain of economic activity that can result in business expansion and jobs - locally, nationally and globally.
- Electronics (PDF 447Kb) - When you purchase, use and dispose of electronic products, there are important choices you can make that can help save energy, protect the environment and preserve natural resources.
- Energy and Climate Change (PDF 447Kb) - By recycling materials such as metal or paper, you capture the energy and resources already used to make that product. Because the materials you recycle already have been refined and processed once before, manufacturing the second time is much cleaner and more energy efficient.
- Fluorescent Lamps and Bulbs (PDF 459Kb) - Newer fluorescent lamps and ballasts are highly energy efficient and contain less mercury than previous bulbs. Still, it's important to recycle them properly; even a small amount of mercury can harm humans, animals and the environment.
- Glass (PDF 438Kb) - Glass containers are 100 percent recyclable and can be made into new glass containers infinitely. Producing glass from recycled glass requires 30 percent less energy than producing glass from raw materials.
- Metals (PDF 435Kb) - Iron and steel, which can be separated magnetically from the waste stream, are the world's most recycled materials and among the easiest materials to reprocess. Using recycled metal to manufacture new products saves considerable energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
- Paper (PDF 439Kb) - Recycling paper helps reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill and preserve natural resources. A piece of paper can be recycled five to seven times before the fibers become too short to be used again.
- Plastics (PDF 455Kb) - Plastic is derived from petroleum. Nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption is used to make plastics, equaling about 2 million barrels a day. Recycling plastics uses roughly 10 percent of the energy needed to make a pound of plastic from virgin materials.
- Responsible Purchasing (PDF 475Kb) - "Responsible purchasing" means making choices about which product to choose based on the environmental impacts of manufacturing, transporting, using and disposing of that product.
- Waste Less (PDF 445Kb) - There's something even better for the environment than recycling: waste prevention. When you adopt ways to eliminate waste, your business will use fewer materials and use existing materials more efficiently. Generating less waste not only reduces environmental impacts but may also lower your business's operation costs.