What do Americans recycle?

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What is the most-recycled product in the United States? Office paper? Aluminum cans? Good guesses, but wrong, says Scientific American. It’s actually lead-acid car batteries; 99 percent of them are recycled.

For the record, only about half the aluminum cans are recycled and about 70 percent of office paper is recycled.

According to the EPA, Americans recycled about 61 million tons of stuff in 2008, the most recent year for which the EPA has released figures. That number excludes composting, which recycled another 22 million tons.

Some recycling details to bright up your earth week:

  • office paper — 71 percent recycled
  • yard trimmings — 65 percent recycled
  • steel cans — 63 percent recycled
  • aluminum cans — 48 percent recycled
  • tires — 35 percent recycled
  • plastic bottles (HDPE) — 29 percent recycled
  • glass containers — 28 percent recycled
  • PET bottles and jars — 27 percent recycled

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