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Facts and FAQ's


  • Paper makes up the largest part of our waste stream, and in some countries, including the United States, paper accounts for nearly 40 percent of all municipal solid waste. [1] [3]

  • The average American uses 580 pounds of paper in one year. [1]

  • A single tree can filter 60 pounds of pollutants in a year. [1]

  • 900 million trees are cut down each year to supply raw materials for American paper and pulp mills. [1]

  • Only 1% of the world's water supply is usable. [1]

  • 500,000 trees are used every Sunday based on newspapers thrown out. [1]

  • In 2000, Americans recycled 54.8 million aluminum cans, saving the energy equivalent of 2.58 billion gallons of gasoline. [1]

  • Recycled glass can be used as: filter media, construction fill, and beach nourishment. [2]

  • Houston Area Single-Family Per Capita Garbage Generation Rate is nearly 1 ton per person per year. [2]

  • Yard trimmings (which are 100% compostable) comprise 20% of the municipal solids waste disposed of in Texas landfills. [2]

  • The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can is enough to run a television for 3 hours. [2]

  • 2008 is the 38th year for celebrating Earth Day in the US.

  • Recycled aluminum saves 95% energy vs. virgin aluminum. [3]

  • 4 pounds of bauxite are saved for every pound of aluminum recycled. [3]

  • Enough aluminum is thrown away to rebuild our commercial air fleet 4 times every year.

  • Recycled glass saves 50% energy vs. virgin glass. [3]

  • Recycling of one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours. [3]

  • Glass can be reused an infinite number of times; over 41 billion glass containers are made each year. [3]

  • Recycling a ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7000 gallons of water. [3]

  • Every year enough paper is thrown away to make a 12' wall from New York to California [3]

  • If we recycled every plastic bottle we used, we would keep 2 billion tons of plastic out of landfills. [3]

  • According to the EPA, recycling a pound of PET saves approximately 12,000 BTU's (about 11 ounces of crude oil). [3]

  • We use enough plastic wrap to wrap all of Texas every year. [3]

  • Production of recycled paper uses 80% less water, 65% less energy and produces 95% less air pollution than virgin paper production. [3]

  • If offices throughout the country increased the rate of two-sided photocopying from the 1991 figure of 20% to 60%, they could save the equivalent of about 15 million trees. [3]

  • One fifth of all wood harvested in the world ends up in paper. [3]

  • It takes 2 to 3.5 tons of trees to make one ton of paper. [3]

  • Pulp and paper is the 5th largest industrial consumer of energy in the world, using as much power to produce a ton of product as the iron and steel industry. [3]

  • Making paper uses more water per ton than any other product in the world. [3]

  • Over a ton of resources is saved for every ton of glass recycled - 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar. Also a ton of glass produced from raw materials creates 384 pounds of mining waste. Using 50% recycled glass cuts the waste by 75% and prevents 250 pounds of mining waste. [3]

  • How long does it take trash to decompose in landfills?

  • Paper: 2 - 5 months

  • Orange peels: 6 months

  • Milk cartons: 5 years

  • Filter cigarettes: 10 - 12 years

  • Plastic bags: 10 - 20 years

  • Leather shoes: 24 - 40 years

  • Plastic containers: 50 - 80 years

  • Disposable diapers: 75 years

  • Tin cans: 100 years

  • Aluminum cans: 200 - 500 years

  • Sytrfoam: never


How much litter is dropped along The Woodlands main roads?

Approximately 172,800 gallons per year (14,400 per month) or about 52.4 tons (4.4 per month) are collected by your community associations, which is paid for out of your yearly assessment! Think how much money would be saved or directed to more useful purposes if people did not litter!


What items can I recycle and where do I take them?

Click here for information


What do the plastic recycling symbols mean?




Polyethylene Terephalate Ethylene 

PETE goes into soft drink, juice, water, detergent, and cleaner bottles. Also used for cooking and peanut butter jars.

High Density Polyethylene 

HDPE goes into milk and water jugs, bleach and detergent and shampoo bottles, plastic bags, grocery sacks, motor oil bottles, household cleaners, and butter tubs.

Polyvinyl Chloride 

PVC goes into window cleaner, cooking oils, and detergent bottles. Also used for peanut butter jars and water jugs.

Low Density Polyethylene 


LDPE goes into plastic bags and grocery sacks, dry cleaning bags and flexible film packaging. Also some bottles.



PP goes into caps, disks, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, straws and film packaging.


PS goes into meat trays, egg cartons, plates, cutlery, carry-out containers and clear trays.


Includes resins not mentioned above or combinations of plastics.


[1]From The Saint Louis Resourceful Schools Project, a collaboration between Cooperating School Districts and the Saint Louis County Department of Health to support reducing, reusing and recycling in both schools and communities.

[2]From Garbage Generation Quick Facts

.[3]From Earth 911 website.

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