The Challenge – Material and Usage
- In the U.S., each of us uses the equivalent of one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products per year. (EPA)
- 1.5 acres of rainforest is lost each second to land development and deforestation, with significant impact and loss to habitat and biodiversity.
- Americans use and discard over 2.5 billion Styrofoam cups each year.
- Styrofoam does not break down easily and some studies indicate that it may release chemicals when it gets wet, contaminating our water sources. And it takes up much more space than paper in our landfills.
- Americans use and discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
- In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his/her adult weight in garbage. For a 150-lb. adult, this is equivalent to will dispose of 90,000 lbs of trash.
The Upside: Recycling and Composting
- 56 percent of the 100 million tons of paper consumed in the U.S. during 2007 was recovered for recycling. This is the equivalent of nearly 360 pounds of paper for each man, woman, and child in America. (Paper Industry Association Council, 2007)
- While recycling of Styrofoam is possible, it is extremely expensive and many recycling plants do not accept it. Styrofoam cannot be recycled to make new Styrofoam products. It can only be used to make other products such as packing filler.
- 20.8 million tons of material was recovered for composting in 2006 nationally. (EPA)
- In 2006 there were over 3,470 community composting programs in operation across the country. (EPA)
How Bagasse Products Compare
- Less water and energy is required to produce Bagasse than Styrofoam, paper, and recycled paper.
- Less CO2 is emitted by creating Bagasse over Styrofoam and paper. Recycled paper, however, emits even less than Bagasse.
- Trees can take up to 30 years to mature, while sugarcane only takes one year making it a sustainable resource.