Recycling Facts to Ponder... and some helpful suggestions

Did you know?

  • New York City produces four pounds of waste per person per day -- more than any other city in the world.
  • The U.S. recycles only 11% of its total waste compared to Japan which recycles 50%.
  • The United States produces 70% of the world's solid waste.
  • Sixty-five percent of our trash goes to landfills, half of which will close within 5 years.
  • Forty percent of New York City's garbage consists of packaging materials. U.S. businesses buy an estimated 5 billion cubic feet of Polystyrene foam "peanuts" a year. That's enough to fill the Empire State Building more than 135 times.
  • An estimated 16 million laser printer cartridges are used every year. Only about 1.5 million of them are recycled

What you can do...

  • Reuse packaging materials, shredded paper or newspapers in place of polystyrene "peanuts."
  • Speak to your distributor or building office to find out if you can recycle laser printer cartridges.
  • Avoid unnecessary waste by using mugs, plates, metal utensils, dishtowels in place of disposable paper and plastic.
  • Reuse clips, binders, and file folders.

Paper Waste. Did you know...

Paper and paperboard constitute 36% of the total amount of solid waste produced.

Paper can be recycled about four times before it loses its tensile strength.

U.S. businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year --the equivalent of 175 pounds per average office worker.

If each copier in the U.S. made five fewer copies every day, we could save up to 1.4 million trees per year.

Making new paper from old paper uses up to 55% less energy than making paper from trees, and creates much less air and water pollution.

Every year, Americans throw away enough office paper to build a wall 12 feet high, stretching from LA to NYC.

If only 100,000 people stopped their junk mail, we could save about 150,000 trees every year.

If we all recycled our Sunday papers, we could save over 500,000 trees each week.

Of the 62.5 million newspapers printed each day seventy percent will be thrown away.


  • REDUCE - Use email and bulletin boards, when you need to print copies use double-sided photocopies whenever possible. To reduce the amount of unwanted direct mail advertizing you receive, visit the Direct Marketing Association, there you can register online to remove your name from many mailing lists.
  • REUSE - Print drafts and internal copies on clean side of used paper.
  • RECYCLE - Recycle office paper and newspaper/magazines in designated recycling bins. Purchase paper that has a high post-consumer recycled content.

Aluminum, Glass and Plastic.Did you know...

It takes 19 times as much energy to manufacture an aluminum can from raw ore than from recycled aluminum.

The average aluminum can goes from the supermarket shelf to scrap and back to the shelf in 42 days.

The average American uses about 42 lbs. of aluminum each year, while the average Chinese or Mexican uses less than 2 lbs.

Every year we throw out 28 billion glass bottles and jars.

Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and throw away 55 billion cans each year.

In 1991 the U.S. recycled 56.8 billion cans. Contribute to rising recycling rates by rates by placing rinsed beverage containers in a designated recycling receptacle. Buy products in reusable, refillable, or recyclable containers.

As New York City and State responds to COVID-19, we want to update you on the steps we are taking--and recommending to you--to maintain GrowNYC Greenmarkets, Farmstands, and Fresh Food Box sites as vital community spaces in this time of uncertainty.

  • Food Access & Agriculture

    Our network of Greenmarket farmers markets, Youthmarkets, Fresh Food Box pick-ups, and Greenmarket Co. ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, healthiest local food.

  • Conservation

    We provide food scrap drop-offs, clothing collections, Stop 'N' Swap® community reuse events, and zero waste trainings to make resource conservation easy for all.

  • Green Space

    We build and rejuvenate community & school gardens in all 5 boroughs, and support even more gardens through volunteer days, technical assistance, school garden grants, & more.

  • Education

    We foster future environmental stewards by providing 66,000 children each year with programs that provide meaningful interactions with the natural environment.