If everyone in the U.S. recycled aluminum, plastic, glass and paper, total U.S. carbon emissions would be reduced by 0.3 percent.

We throw a lot of stuff away in this country, that's just who we are. Non-recyclers create about 1,021 lbs. of pollution per person per year. Recycling cuts that by about 450 lbs. If all of us took the time to sort our trash, we could save 69.4 million tons of pollution per year. Not bad. 

A worker sorts recyclables from a trash heap in Manila. Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images

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