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Widget calculates energy from recyclables

The EPA releases a widget the can be used to determine the energy saved by recycling various types of packaging versus landfilling.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a new widget that calculates how much energy can be saved through recycling. Results can be shared via Facebook or Twitter, or the widget can be added to a Web site or blog.

The widget is the digital version of the iWARM—Individual WAste Reduction Model—which helps consumers understand the energy saved by recycling small quantities of common household products, rather than landfilling them. The types of recyclables evaluated include aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, weekly magazines, and plastic grocery bags. The energy savings are translated into the equivalent amount of electricity, estimating how long that amount of electricity will operate a variety of household appliances.

For example, with the widget, a user can determine that recycling 20 plastic bottles can power a laptop for 50.8 hours, or recycling 10 aluminum cans will power a hair dryer for 3.4 hours.

The energy calculations are based on the Waste Reduction Model (WARM), which was created to help solid waste planners and organizations track greenhouse gas emissions reductions from several different waste management practices.

More information on the data and methodologies behind the calculations are available through the model documentation.

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