A commercial being run in favor of recycling claims that here in Minnesota, one million tons of products are being recycled, and that this is equivalent energy savings to taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
Assuming those cars would be driven about 12000 miles per year at 24mpg (national averages), this would imply that recycling one ton of material nets an energy savings equivalent to about 800 gallons of gasoline, which weighs in at close to 2.5-3 tons.
Either a large portion of that recycled material is aluminium, or call me skeptical.
What is that recycled material equivalent to taking cars off the road? Well, it's equivalent to....taking cars off the road, actually. Our state's share of car purchases would be about 300,000 cars, with a total weight of somewhere around 600,000 tons. Most of that is recycled these days. Add in trucks, buses, and building materials that are recycled in our fair state, and you come to the unsettling conclusion that the portion of recycled materials actually processed in recycling bins is probably fairly low.
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