When we all go green together, the results can be staggering. In honor of Earth Day and NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week, we’ve got some of the most mind-blowing statistics about recycling, courtesy of Recycling Across America (

Firt, the not-so-great stats:

  • In the next 15 years, worldwide waste is expected to double.
  • Americans throw away over 2.5 million plastic bottles an hour. Not recycle – throw away.
  • The average person has the opportunity to recycle over 25,000 cans in a lifetime. Instead, every three months we throw away enough aluminum to build all of the country’s airplanes.
  • 28 billion glass bottles and jars are thrown out every year – that’s enough to fill up the Empire State Building twice every three weeks.
  • In 2007, 1.8 million tons of e-waste (electronics such as TVs and computers) ended up in landfills. That’s about 2% of the country’s total waste.
  • About half of food in the US goes to waste – which is about 3,000 pounds per second

But, there’s hope!

  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a newlywed couple’s house for an entire year.
  • Recycling a three-foot high stack of newspaper can save one tree, recycling one glass jar can power a light bulb for 20 hours, and recycling one ton of cardboard can save 46 gallons of oil.
  • Recycling helps to prevent waste from going into oceans – keeping these important ecosystems alive and well.
  • Several states have now created mandatory collection and recycling programs specifically targeted towards electronics, while schools and business across the country have begun to compost in order to reduce their food waste.
  • Once we reach the point where we’re recycling 75% of waste here in the US, it will reduce CO2 each year just as much as removing 55 million cars from the road.
  • Recycling is a $200 billion industry in America – and it’s still growing.

It’s easy to look at all of these as abstract stats and figures. But, it’s individuals like you doing their part that truly makes a difference. Now is not the time to stop! Let’s keep pushing, keep making strides. We’re so close to making the world a better place – why stop now?

This story is part of NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week where we’re inviting our viewers and readers to “Green Up” by sharing steps you can take to help the planet. Follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more. #GreenUp