Plastic Recycling Facts

Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year... Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 styrofoam coffee cups every year...

  • Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
  • American throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.
  • The number of plastics recycling businesses has grown to more than 1,790 businesses handling and reclaiming post-consumer plastics.
  • Today, over 20,000 communities provide recycling services to 200 million people.
  • The plastics recycling industry provides jobs for nearly 200,000 United States workers
  • Half of all polyester carpet manufactured in the US is made from recycled soda bottles.
  • Recycled plastic is also made into plastic lumber, clothing, flower pots, insulation for sleeping bags & ski jackets, car bumpers and more.


  • In 2006, Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each, but only recycled an average of 23 percent. That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills.
  • According to the Beverage Marketing Corp, the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water in 1976. In 2006 that number jumped to 28.3 gallons.
  • In 2007 we spent $16 billion on bottled water. That’s more than we spent on iPods or movie tickets.
  • In the United States in 2006, bottled water consumption reached a record 8.3 billion gallons. The total amount spent on bottled water was over $11 billion. (Beverage Marketing Corp.)
  • In 2006, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38.
  • In the United States, 24 percent of bottled water sold is either Pepsi’s Aquafina (13 percent of the market) or Coke’s Dasani (11 percent of the market). Both brands are bottled, purified municipal water.
  • Americans send about 38 billion water bottles a year to landfills. Considering more than 24 million gallons of oil – enough to fuel 30,000 cars for a year – are required to produce just one billion bottles, the environmental impact of plastic bottle waste is staggering.