Supplying recycled materials to industry uses less energy than supplying virgin materials that incur extra extraction and transportation
costs. Additional energy savings associated with recycling accrue in the manufacturing process itself, since the materials have already undergone processing. And of course, by saving energy, recycling helps the U.S. reduce its reliance on oil.
Recycling aluminum saves the nation 95% of the energy that would have been needed to make new aluminum from ore: one aluminum can saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 3 1/2 hours. It takes 60% less energy to recycle steel than it does to make it from raw materials. Making recycled newspaper saves 40%, recycled plastics 70%, and recycled glass 40%.
The EPA reported that in 2000, recycling resulted in an annual energy savings equal to the amount of energy used in 6 million homes—over 660 trillion BTU's [British thermal units]—and expected that to rise to 900 trillion BTUs in 2005.
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