Why Recycle? How to Recycle Anything!

Why Recycle?

Recycling is an important first step in making UT Health Science Center and San Antonio a healthier place to live and work. Recycling not only keeps material out of landfills, it saves energy and water, both of which are precious resources. In addition to recycling, simple strategies that improve energy and water efficiency make our environment healthier and save us money. Below are a few facts about the benefits of recycling and efficient energy and water use. Following these facts is a guide to recycling anything! You can also logon to the UT Health Science Center ‘Green Initiative’ website, http://GoGreen.uthscsa.edu, for more facts, tips, and to learn what UT Health Science Center is doing to become a more environmentally sustainable institution while saving money.


Paper Recycling

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kWh’s of electricity, enough to power the average American home for five months (EPA, 2008).
  • Compared to making paper from new material, making recycled paper uses 50% less water, 60% less energy, and creates 74% less air pollution (EPA, 2008).


Recycling Metal

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt light bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours (EPA, 2008). So next time you see someone throw away their soda can, remind them that UT Health Science Center recycles.
  • Recycling other metals is important too – The steel industry’s annual recycling saves the equivalent amount of energy as is required to power 18 million households for a year.


Recycling Plastic

  • Every year in the United States, enough plastic bags are produced to cover the entire state of Texas!
  • If every American household recycled just 1 out of every ten plastic bottles they used, we would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of our landfills every year.



  • If all American homes were retrofitted with water-efficient appliances, the country would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $18 billion dollars each ear (EPA. 2008).
  • If 1 percent of American homes replaced an old toilet with a new WaterSense labeled toilet, the country would save more than 38 million kWh of electricity – that is enough to power almost 50,000 homes for a month (EPA, 2008).
  • Turning your faucet off while you brush your teeth saves as much energy as is required to power a 60-watt light bulb for 14 hours (EPA, 2008).



  • Electricity production is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the United States, and is responsible for 40 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change (Worldwatch Institute, 2007).
  • Lighting consumes up to 34% of electricity in the United States. If every household replaced its most often-used incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), electricity use for lighting in this country could be cut in half. CFLs also save you a lot of money by lowering your utility bill (Worldwatch Institute, 2007).
  • Many idle electronics, like TVs, VCRs, DVD players, and cordless phone chargers, use energy even when switched off. 5% of our domestic energy is used to power electronics that are switched off, costing consumers $8 billion annually. To save money on your own utilities, unplug chargers when not in use, and plug other electronics into power strips that can be turned off when not in use (Alliance to Save Energy, 2005).


Other Facts

  • One gallon of motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water.