How recycling can help reduce manufacturer’s Carbon Footprint

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What contributes to a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon emitted from consumption of fossil fuels. According to the EPA, the manufacturing industry accounts for just over 22% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. If you add in the use of electricity and transportation of product, the size of the carbon footprint contribution grows – possibly to 30%. This number can be calculated by estimating the amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by burning fossil fuels and by the amount of electricity used to power equipment. So how can recycling help reduce a manufacturer’s carbon footprint?

The two most common contributors to manufacturer’s carbon footprint are:

Consumption of Fossil Fuels

The most direct contribution to greenhouse gases comes from the consumption of fossil fuels for energy during the manufacturing process. This Includes delivery of raw materials, employee transportation, and distribution of finished product. In fact, more than 90% of fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, according to the EPA. This includes both gasoline and diesel.

Electricity Usage

When electricity is used to power equipment and other items such as lighting, water heaters and HVAC equipment, a manufacturer’s carbon footprint goes up. According to the EPA, carbon dioxide emissions from electric usage make up most of the greenhouse gasses produced today. generating electricity also causes methane and nitrous oxide gases to be produced.

According to the EPA, when electricity is used and produced, carbon dioxide emissions make up the vast majority of greenhouse gases. However, generating electricity also causes methane and nitrous oxide gases to be produced.

The Benefits of Recycling to reduce carbon footprint

Recycling helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption. Using recycled materials to make new products reduces the need for virgin materials. This avoids greenhouse gas emissions that would result from extracting or mining virgin materials.
Since plastic production emits greenhouse gases, from the start of production to the manufacturing of the final product and the disposal of those products, recycling reduces the need for new plastic.


  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators.
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals.
  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials.
  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials.
  • Saves energy.

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