Even though Americans are becoming more conscious about using natural resources, there is a lot more that can be done. For instance, the National Restaurant Association, Aluminum Recycling, the Bureau of International Recycling and other organizations report that Americans throw away enough aluminum in a three-month period to rebuild all of the country's commercial airplanes.
Making matters worse, currently the only source for new tin in the U.S. is from recycled tin — the rest is imported from other countries.
"I think Americans need a wake-up call," says Doug Berjer, product manager for CFR. "We really are disposing of too many things that can be recycled or reused, over and over again."
Berjer has compiled what he calls his "not so fun facts" about American recycling to further his point. His list includes:
• Each year, Americans throw away enough office and writing paper to build a wall 12 feet high stretching from New York to Los Angeles.
• More than 30 million trees are cut down to create one year's worth of newspaper.
• Recycling one ton of paper saves one acre of trees.
• In one year, an estimated seven million tons of clothing and textiles are discarded and only 12 percent are reused or recycled.
• About 95 percent of the water entering U.S. homes and offices goes down the drain, most of which is released as waste.

"And, water specifically is becoming a real concern in the U.S.," says Berjer. "Fortunately, technologies are available that allow us to recycle water effectively. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says properly recycled water can satisfy most all of our water demands for both potable (human consumption) and non-potable use."