Recycling with Green Girl

by Bridget Johnson



Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.

• Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles every year.

• 26 recycled PET bottles equal a polyester suit. 5 recycled PET bottles make enough fiberfill to stuff a ski jacket.

• If every American household recycled just one out of every ten HDPE bottles they used, we’d keep 200 million pounds of the plastic out of landfills every year.

• Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

• Only around 27% of plastic bottles are recycled.

• Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures a year! Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It's twice the size of Texas and is floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. It's also 80 percent plastic, and weighs in at 3.5 million tons.

• When the small particles from photodegraded plastic bags get into the water, they are ingested by filter feeding marine animals. Biotoxins like PCBs that are in the particles are then passed up the food chain, including up to humans.

• It has been estimated that recycling, re-use, and composting create six to ten times as many jobs as waste incineration and landfills.

• Recycling saves 3 to 5 times the energy generated by waste-to-energy plants, even without counting the wasted energy in the burned materials.

• 827,000 to 1.3 million tons of plastic PET water bottles were produced in the U.S. in 2006, requiring the energy equivalent of 50 million barrels of oil. 76.5 percent of these bottles ended up in landfills.

• Because plastic water bottles are shielded from sunlight in landfills, they will not decompose for thousands of years.

• 66% of energy is saved when producing new plastic products from recycled materials instead of raw (virgin) materials.

• For every 1 ton of plastic that is recycled we save the equivalent of 2 people’s energy use for 1 year, the amount of water used by 1 person in 2 months’ time and almost 2000 pounds of oil.

• A survey was done and 9 out of 10 people surveyed said they would recycle more if it was easier. Odd as it seems there are many people who do not realize that plastic bottles our water comes in is made out of oil. This is the same oil that is used to make gasoline. It's the same oil that is in such high demand and is not an unlimited resource.

Plastic facts sourced here:





Q: If I can recycle a #1 soda bottle, why can’t I recycle everything with a #1?

A. The number on the bottom identifies only the type of plastic resin—it tells you nothing about how the product was made. Different manufacturing processes are used to make plastic bottles, tubs, and soccer balls, and these manufacturing processes give the plastics different properties such as melting points. It is not simply the number that determines whether the plastic is recyclable, but rather your community guidelines. Our community can recycle all plastic bottles, tubs and screw-top jars numbered #1-7 in your curbside recycling bin (no plastic lids or caps; no plastic bags; no foam; no #7 PLA bottles or containers.)

Q: Do I need to take the caps and lids off plastic containers before I recycle them? Can the caps be recycled as well?

A. Caps and lids from all plastic bottles and jugs may be LEFT ON now when recycling the containers.  Please make sure all containers are clean before recycling.

Q: Do I need to remove the plastic ring that is left around the neck of a plastic bottle when I remove the cap?

A. No, you do not need to remove it. The recycling center is allowed a minimal amount of “contamination” in our materials to account for things like the plastic ring and the label on the product.

Q: Can I recycle yogurt containers and dairy/deli tubs?

A. Yes. These containers are a tub shape and are accepted through curbside recycling.

Q: Can prescription or vitamin bottles be recycled?

A. Yes, we can accept prescription and vitamin bottles larger than 2″ in curbside recycling. Please remove the lids and any personal information from the label.  Any tiny bottles will most likely not make is through the sorting system -please reuse these or re-purpose them where possible.

Q: Is a #2 bottle that had motor oil in it recyclable?

A. No – motor oil seeps into the plastic that contains it slightly making it almost impossible to get all the oil back out of the plastic containers when recycling it. It’s extremely cost prohibitive.



Green Girl Recycling is committed to making recycling in Boulder, Larimer and Weld Counties simple, effective and affordable for all types of customers (residential, commercial, institutional, office, restaurant, and government). We work directly with each customer on an individual level to help reduce waste, lower trash costs, and set up an efficient recycling program that everyone can easily participate in and understand. See what we can do for you!


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Recycling Spotlight

Plastic Q&A:

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