Recycling Facts

Public Service Director

Chad Weth
(865) 215-2060

1400 Loraine Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

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What Goes into Paper?

37% Managed regenerated forests that have been logged and then encouraged to grow again by natural means, such as seeding

29% Industrial pulp plantations that produce fast-growing trees such as some pines and eucalyptus 1% Tropical rain forest

1% Original temperate forests (United States, parts of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Europe and China)

15% Original boreal forests (Alaska, Canada, Russia and Scandinavia)

17% Unmanaged, naturally regenrated forests


Old newspapers are used again to make newsprint, as well as other products. In 1992, of the 12.8 million tons of newsprint used in the United States, approximately 1.4 million tons went back to the manufacture of newspaper.

If all morning newspapers read around the country were recycled, 6 million tons of waste would never end up in landfills.

Loose, unbaled newspapers weigh 360-500 pound per cubic yard Baled newspapers weigh 720-1000 pound per cubic yard Landfill newspapers weigh 800 pounds per cubic yard

Construction Products

Approximately 1.5 million tons of construction products are made each year of paper. These include insulation, gypsum wallboard, roofing paper, flooring, padding and sound-absorbing materials. All use recycled scrap paper, yet most consumers are unaware of these building materials made with a high recycled paper content.

Molded Products

Paper egg cartons, fruit trays, flower pots, as well as some industrial and construction products, are made from scrap paper that is repulped and molded into this special-use packaging.

Junk Mail

Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail per year.

About 44% of this junk mail is never opened. Every person in the United States received junk mail that represents the equivalent of one and a half trees a year If only 100,000 people stopped their junk mail, we could save up to 150,000 trees annually. If a million people did this, we could save up to 1.5 million trees.

Here is a way to help....

More info on getting off mailing lists / Mail Preference Service Bulk mail for "current resident or...":
Start with sending a postcard or letter to

Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512

Write "please activate the mail preference service", and include the name, address and zip code. You must send individual postcards -- for some strange reason the DMA does not officially accept listings for former residents, and will ignore requests that don't appear to be from a single individual.

Scrap Tires

In 1996 in the United States:

202 million scrap tires were recovered for a 75.6 percent recycling rate. 152 million scrap tires were used to make tire-derived fuel, up from 130 million in 1995. The total weight of crumb rubber extracted from tire buffings and whole tires was 200,000 tons. 15 million scrap tires were exported from the U.S.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Waste

Consider the durability of a product before you buy it as a gift. This is among the tips offered by EPA to reduce waste while celebrating the holiday season.
Click Here for More Info

Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills every year. Reduce the number of bags thrown out by bringing reusable cloth bags for holiday gift shopping. Tell store clerks you don't need a bag for small or oversized purchases.

Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper or funny papers. Also remember to save or recycle used wrapping paper. Give gifts that don't require much packaging, such as concert tickets or gift certificates.

Send recycled-content greeting cards to reduce the amount of virgin paper used during the holidays. Remember to recycle any paper cards you receive. You also can try sending electronic greeting cards to reduce paper waste.

About 40 percent of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run.

Turn off or unplug holiday lights during the day. Doing so will not only save energy, but will also help your lights last longer.

Approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year. After the holidays, look for ways to recycle your tree instead of sending it to a landfill. Check with your community solid waste department and find out if they collect and mulch trees. Your town might be able to use chippings from mulched trees for hiking trails and beachfront erosion barriers.
To help prevent waste from cutting down and disposing of live trees, you can buy a potted tree and plant it after the holidays.

Have a create-your-own-decorations party! Invite family and friends to create and use holiday decorations such as ornaments made from old greeting cards or cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries, wreaths made from artificial greens and flowers, and potpourri made from kitchen spices such as cinnamon and cloves.

Consider the durability of a product before you buy it as a gift. Cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly, creating waste and costing you money.

When buying gifts, check product labels to determine an item's recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.

Use your own camera instead of a disposable one to reduce waste while capturing holiday memories. Consider buying a digital camera so that you print just the pictures you want to keep.