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NR 2005-15
July 21, 2005

Contact: Ed Wilson
Mark Oldfield
Don Drysdale
(916) 323-1886

ENERGY IN A CAN?

Last Year Alone, Recycling Bottles and Cans Saved Enough Energy
To Power up to 522,000 Homes in California

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Conservation (DOC) is encouraging Californians to put extra effort into recycling this summer as temperatures rise and energy use peaks.

Energy drinks are all the rage, and in recent years beverages that invigorate consumers have flooded the marketplace. What many people might not realize is that as the summer’s heat intensifies and people reach for the air-conditioning switch, the same bottles and cans that provide them with energy beverages could actually save the kind of energy needed to power their homes, air conditioners and televisions.

How much energy? Last year, the 12 billion bottles and cans recycled by Californians saved the equivalent of enough energy to power up to 522,000 homes, according to DOC calculations.

“Most of us are well aware that recycling bottles and cans saves natural resources,” said California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman. “But when you add in the fact that it often takes a lot less energy to make a new product from recycled materials than virgin materials, recycling makes even more sense than ever this summer and year-round.”

It takes 95 percent less energy to make an aluminum can from recycled aluminum than from processing bauxite ore, and glass furnaces can run at lower temperatures when using recycled glass, thereby saving energy and extending equipment life. Although the number of bottles and cans recycled in California in 2004 set an all-time record, a staggering 8 billion plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers still wound up in California landfills – enough to fill every major league baseball park in the state twice. That’s a lot of wasted energy and natural resources.

To help Californians find the recycling bin instead of the trash can this summer, the DOC has some simple tips for bottle and can recycling:

  • Look for the “CA Cash Refund” or similar symbol on bottle labels or tops of aluminum cans. California Refund Value (CRV) containers are redeemable for cash at any of California’s 2,000 privately owned certified recycling centers. Almost all beverage containers are recyclable, and most in California are even worth money (4 cents for smaller containers and 8 cents for containers 24 ounces and larger). To find a recycling center near you, call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit www.bottlesandcans.com and click on “Where to Recycle.”
     

  • Own a business or work in an office building, gym, school, restaurant or other location where people dispose of CRV containers? Order a free “Recycling Starter Kit” at www.bottlesandcans.com.
     

  • On the go? Hold onto your empty beverage containers until you find a recycling bin. Keep an extra bag or box in your car so that you can collect your beverage containers without having them roll around in your car.
     

  • Throwing a party or BBQ? Set up a separate bag or box for recyclable beverage containers only. Later, redeem them for cash or put them in your curbside recycling bin.
     

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to rinse, clean or remove labels from your empty beverage containers.

Most beverages packaged in aluminum, glass and plastic, such as soft drinks, water, beer, sports drinks, juices and coffee and tea drinks, are included in the CRV program. Among the notable products not included in the program are milk, wine and distilled spirits. Or check out a comprehensive list of products subject to CRV.

In addition to promoting beverage container recycling, the Department of Conservation maps and studies earthquakes and other geologic phenomena; classifies areas containing mineral deposits; ensures reclamation of land used for mining; regulates oil, gas and geothermal wells; and administers agricultural and open-space land conservation programs.

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