100 billion beverage containers recycled

... and billions more to go

provided by California Department of Conservation

100 Billion Reasons to Recycle Your Beverage Containers

Californians have recycled 100 billion beverage containers since 1987. This means, over the past 10 years, Californians have recycled more than 19,000 beverage containers every minute of every day, around the clock. The length of the 100 billion beverage containers laid end to end would extend from the Earth to the moon nearly 37 times. There are other ways of looking at what 100 billion recycled beverage containers is equal to:

- 5.4 million tons.

- 43 days worth of California trash that otherwise would have been landfilled.

- 10.6 billion gallons of soda, beer and other carbonated beverages.

- Reducing carbon monoxide emissions by the equivalent of keeping 660,000 cars off the road for a full year.

- Saving enough electricity to provide power to 28 million people for a full year nearly enough to give a year's worth of free electricity for everyone In California.

- Conserving enough water to provide the annual household water needs of 37.6 million people enough to give every Californian a free year's worth of water for drinking, washing and bathing.

- Recycling enough plastic bottles (3.4 billion) to create fibers for manufacturing 850 million T-shirts, or nearly 25 square miles of carpeting enough to carpet 15,000 football fields.

- Saving enough electricity to power every television in California for at least 15 years

f you laid 100 billion beverage containers end-to-end, the line would stretch around the Earth more than 350 times. But the Earth has been spared such trash because Californian have recycled those 100 billion cans and bottles since the state's beverage container recycling program began in 1987.

"From Fort Bragg to the Coachella Valley, from Catalina Island to the Sierra Nevada, Californians should congratulate themselves for reaching this milestone," said Larry Goldzband, director of the California Department of Conservation, which oversees the state's beverage container recycling program. "We have done it together, but there's still more we need to do."

Indeed, if ever there was a task in need of ongoing attention, it's recycling. Although California has maintained one of the highest beverage container recycling rates in the nation, beverage consumption grows larger annually. Last year, Californians purchased approximately 13 billion aluminum glass and plastic beverage containers. Almost eight out of 10 of these containers were recycled, mostly through local curbside recycling programs or at local recycling businesses. Curbside programs have grown from 90 in 1987 to 514 today.

Ninety percent of Californians report having recycled a beverage container at some time. However, recent Department of Conservation research indicating that while most Californians want to recycle, they don't always do so as much as possible. The focus groups surveyed in the department's research also indicated that an environmental reminder would be helpful to nudge them into more conscientious recycling.

To assist Californians with their recycling habits, the department will teem up with cities and counties over the next year to make it easier for consumers to recycle by placing more bins.

Recycling bins will be placed in public venues to make it easier for people to reduce litter and save landfill space while at the same time help conserve our natural resources. The bins will serve a dual purpose: they will be convenient beverage container recycling opportunities for people away from home, and they will remind people that we should all recycle not only where we live, but where we work and play, as well.

The new bins will be placed in large public venues such as sports facilities, parks, fairs, community festivals and schools. Most important, it means trash cans will no longer be the only beverage container disposal option for conscientious visitors.

Recycling bins were added to the luxury suites at San Diego's Qualcomm stadium in time for the Super Bowl festivities. In March, bins were delivered to Fort Bragg in time for the whale watching activities and to the Coachella Valley for use at golf tournaments beginning this spring. Also this spring, the Department of Conservation will announce the latest recipients from its $2.3 million nonprofit recycling grants program. The emphasis of the program this year was on projects designed to increase recycling infrastructure.

In April, the Department of Conservation will launch an advertising campaign in major cities statewide as California begins collecting its second 100 billion recycled beverage containers. The campaign's tag line ("Thanks California. Keep Recycling.") will acknowledge previous efforts while encouraging Californians to remember the strong recycling ethic we have developed in the last 10 years.

Anyone interested in more information on beverage container recycling in California can contract the Department of Conservation's recycling program at 801 K Street, MS 18-58, Sacramento California 95814; or by calling 1-800-RECYCLE.

In addition to promoting beverage container recycling, the Department of Conservation regulates oil, gas and geothermal wells; safeguards agricultural land; studies earthquakes and landslides; and manages the state's mineral resources.