A Lighter Footprint: living more sustainably... Trees
Blank a flim by Jennifer Kaplan
Blank Statistics



  • In the US, about 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees go to producing plastic and paper bags each year.
  • Americans flush 4.8 billion gallons of water down the toilet every day. You'll conserve up to 6 gallons each time you flush with lower-flow toilets OR fill a milk jug with water or rocks and place them in your tank. You'll save about a gallon per flush.
  • Plastic bags are one of the 12 most commonly found items in coastal cleanups.
  • Money in the gas tankGas-powered autos cause almost 25% of US CO2 emissions. Compared to similar gas models, hybrids cut emissions in half.
  • Driving an average SUV puts six tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually; a small hybrid gives off one and one-half tons, and biking gives off none.
  • In the U.S., 1.5 million barrels of oil go into to making bottled water and "enhanced water."
  • The average person in the United States creates 4.4 pounds of garbage/waste daily.
  • If every American bought Energy Star appliances over the next 15 years, the reduction in greenhouse gases would equate to taking 17 million cars off the road.
  • 45,000 pounds of greenhouse gases are produced per family per year in the United States.
  • About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group.
  • Drying clothing in an electric dryer for a family of four makes one ton of greenhouse gases annually, while line drying gives off none.
  • The U.S. Government’s Energy Star website says that if every family in America changed just five light bulbs to compact fluorescents, we could shut down twenty-one coal powered plants tomorrow; this would have the same effect as taking eight million cars off the road. It would prevent an estimated two thousand respiratory and other related deaths annually.
  • too much packagingOver-packaging constitutes a bulk of our waste. Everything from fruit and potatoes to lettuce and grape tomatoes are put in plastic wrapping, plastic containers or on Styrofoam trays. Many communities do not recycle these kinds of packaging.
  • A single solar rooftop panel can cut a home's annual water-heating bill by 70%.
  • Plastic bags use natural resources, consume energy to manufacture, create litter, choke marine line and add to landfill waste.
  • The average American uses 900 grocery bags per year. Less than 1% are recycled.
  •  In the U.S., electric power generation accounts for 2/3 of the country's emission of sulfur dioxide (a pollutant that causes acid rain) and more than 1/3 of the carbon dioxide (the leading cause of global warming).
  • Up to one-fifth of America's food goes to waste each year — an estimated 130 pounds of food per person. The annual value of this lost food is estimated at around $31 billion. Roughly 49 million people could be fed by those lost resources, more than twice the number of people in the world who die of starvation each year.
    - U.S. Dept. of Agriculture brochure, "A Citizen's Guide to Food Recovery," 1999
  • 60% of the energy associated with a piece of clothing is spent in washing and drying it. Over its lifetime, a T shirt can send up to 9 lbs of carbon dioxide into the air.
  • Using cold water in your washing machine once per week shrinks your carbon footprint by 275 pounds each year; not using the dryer once a week gets you another 200. Replacing an old machine with an Energy Star front-loading washer saves 500 pounds a year.
  • The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions — even more than transportation — according to a report last year from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75% of all the electricity consumed in the home is standby power used to keep electronics running when those TVs, DVRs, computers, monitors and stereos are "off." The average desktop computer, not including the monitor, consumes from 60 to 250 watts a day. Compared with a machine left on 24/7, a computer that is in use four hours a day and turned off the rest of the time would save you about $70 a year. The carbon impact would be even greater. Shutting it off would reduce the machine's CO2 emissions 83%, to just 63 kg a year.
  • Installing a programmable thermostat in your home will prevent about 1,800 lbs of air-polluting CO2 per year and save about $150 per year on energy bills.
  • Recycling a single aluminum can save enough energy to run a television or computer for three hours.
  • Recycling 1 glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours.
  • Americans throw away enough plastic bottles each year to circle the earth four times.
  • In 1999, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) studied 103 brands of bottled water and determined that one-third failed to comply with industry-set standards.
  • pile of packagingAmericans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year.
  • Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.
  • Every Sunday, the U.S. wastes nearly 90% of all the recyclable newspapers. This wastes about 500,000 trees.
  • Americans use more than 67 million tons of paper per year, or 580 pounds per person.
  • Americans send 3,000 tons of paper towels to landfills each day. If your household uses a roll of paper towels per week, you could save more than $100 per year by switching to dishcloths and tea towels.
  • Almost one third of the waste stream by weight is organic waste like food, leaves, and grass.
  • Every person in the US receives the equivalent of one and a half trees per year or approximately 560 pieces of junk mail per year.
  • Approximately 40% of the solid waste mass that makes up our landfills are paper and cardboard.
  • The average meal in the US travels 1,200 miles to your plate.
  • 100 million trees are ground up each year to produce junk mail.
  • What’s Buried Along with our Loved Ones in U.S. Cemeteries Every Year:
    • 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid
    • 90,272 tons of steel (caskets)
    • 2,700 tons of copper and bronze (caskets)
    • 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete (vaults)
    • 14,000 tons of steel (vaults)
    • 30-plus million board feet of hardwoods (much tropical; caskets)

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