Amherst, MA Bottle Battle Campaign

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Amherst, MA, US

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


The Bottle Battle is a container recycling awareness campaign led by the Recycling Division of the Amherst Department of Public Works and funded by a grant from the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) Advisory Board. Battle strategies include posters, newspaper advertisements, and a recognition sticker for Amherst businesses with active recycling programs. The grant will also pay for a small portion of container recycling bins which will be installed and maintained downtown as funding permits.

As the impacts of global warming become better understood, something as simple as recycling can make a difference.

An estimated 4.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions were produced in the act of the replacing one year’s worth of wasted recyclable material. We can slow that statistic one bottle (or can) at a time.


Waste and Recycling Statistics

Americans Waste (landfill, litter, and incinerate) about 425 beverage containers per capita per year—twice as many as we recycle. Environmental impacts of this wasting include energy consumption equivalent to 36 million barrels of crude oil per year and annual generation of 4.5 million tons of greenhouse gases.

American consumers purchase over 500 million beverage bottles and cans, on average, every day. Only one third are recycled while two-thirds are landfilled, incinerated or littered. This results in major pollution and energy impacts, and depletion of aluminum ore and petroleum resources. Use of virgin resources to produce containers boosts greenhouse gas emissions. If the current container recycling rate of 34% were increased to 80%, avoided greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking 2.4 million cars off the road for one year.

Plastic bottles made from PET plastic (used for water, soda, and salad dressing bottles) can be recycled into many products, including beverage bottles, plastic strapping, carpeting, fleece jackets and sleeping bags.

The PET soft drink bottle is 28% lighter than it was 20 years ago (source reduction).

In 2004 Massachusetts recycling:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2,073,814 metric tons of carbon equivalents (MTCE) in a one year period. This is equivalent to approximately 104% of all industrial MTCE emissions generated from fossil fuel combustion in Massachusetts and 9% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Saved a total of 85,146,285 Million BTUs of energy, equal to 32% of all energy used by industry in Massachusetts. This is equivalent to 685,347,637 gallons of gasoline. It represents the amount of energy that would be required to power 820,292 homes for one year in Massachusetts
  • Conserved natural resources by reducing the need for virgin materials, including 130,171 tons of limestone, 946,709 tons of iron ore, 530,157 tons of coal, 289,861 tons of sand, 91,418 tons of soda ash, and 35,675 tons of feldspar. Recycling 1,098,776 tons of all types of paper saved 3,625,961 cubic yards of landfill space.

People in the US consume more packaged drinks per capita than in any other country—about 350 aluminum cans per person per year, compared to 103 in Sweden, 88 in the United Kingdom and 14 in France.

Making 1 million tons of aluminum cans from virgin materials requires 5 million tons of bauxite ore and the energy equivalent of 32 million barrels of crude oil. Recycling the cans, in comparison, saves all of the bauxite and more than 75 percent of the energy, and avoids about 75% of the pollutants.

Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a laptop computer for 4 hours.

The quantity of aluminum wasted in America is staggering. In the year 2001, 760,000 tons of aluminum cans were wasted—165,000 tons more than were wasted in 1990. This was more aluminum metal than was used nationally for trucks, buses, bridges, and roadways applications combined. Between 1990 and 2000, Americans wasted a total of 7.1 million tons of cans: enough to manufacture 316,000 Boeing 737 airplanes-or enough to reproduce the world’s entire commercial air fleet 25 times.