GREEN FACTS

  • Think you've got a lot of trash? The average person discards 4.6 pounds of solid waste — garbage — a day. Nationally, that translates to 251 million tons a year. (Environmental Protection Agency)

  • That's enough lathering. If you spend 10 minutes in the shower, you've just sent 20 gallons of water down the drain. A bath uses 50 gallons. (US Geological Survey)

  • The average tooth brushing session uses a gallon of water. So does shaving that fine jaw line. In fact, every minute that faucet runs sends another two gallons down the drain, so save H²O by turning the tap off between rinses. (USGS)

  • Denmark used wind energy for 20 percent of its electricity last year. And no, that's not the country known for its wooden shoes and windmills. (American Wind Energy Association)

  • If your leaky faucet sends one drip per second down the drain, you're wasting 3,000 gallons a year. (EPA)

  • That eternally gurgling toilet is wasting 200 gallons a day. To find out if you have a leaky commode, place a drop of food coloring in the tank. Don't flush. If it shows up in the toilet bowl, you've got a leak. (EPA)

  • The typical family uses nearly a third of its household water outdoors, sprinkling that thirsty lawn and pretty shrubberies. Experts say more than half of that evaporates or runs off due to overwatering. Drip irrigation, on the other hand, uses 20 percent to 50 percent less water than conventional sprinklers. (EPA)

  • Knock 10 percent off your annual heating bill by rolling your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees when you're not home. It's a myth that your furnace expends so much energy warming the place back up that it's not worth it. (U.S. Department of Energy)

  • Garbage can take 30 years to decay in landfills. In one case, a 40-year-old newspaper found in an old dump site was not only intact, it was still readable. (Binghamton University's Ask a Scientist)

  • Experts believe the United States' 2,216 landfills will be full by 2050. (Science World)

  • Got double panes? Single-pane windows lose twice as much heat as a double-paned window. Think that's not much? During even a fairly mild winter, the heat loss is equal to running a 75-watt light bulb seven hours a day, all year long. (Seattle.gov)

  • The energy that seeps through U.S. windows each winter is the equivalent of all the oil that flows through the Alaska pipeline each year. It's not just the glass, it's the aluminum frame too. Wood-framed windows retain twice as much heat as the standard aluminum variety. (Seattle.gov)

  • The Earth will have 1 billion cars by 2020. (New York Times)

  • Your refrigerator is responsible for a quarter of your electricity bill. That icebox uses 7 percent of the nation's electricity. That's the energy equivalent of half the power generated by the nation's nuclear power plants. (Seattle.gov)

  • Double check your fridge and freezer settings. The refrigerator should be set between 38 degrees and 42 degrees, and the freezer at zero to 5 degrees. If it's set even 10 degrees too cold, not only will your lettuce freeze, you're using 25 percent more energy "... needlessly. (Seattle.gov)

  • Want to optimize your fridge's energy use? Dust the condenser coils twice a year, check the door gasket, keep the refrigerator comfortably full, let leftovers cool before you put them in the fridge, and when you need to defrost something, move it from the freezer to the fridge a day or two before you need it. Not only will it defrost safely, it helps cool your refrigerator in the process. (Seattle.gov)

  • Carpool much? There's enough room in our nation's 140 million cars that everyone in Western Europe could ride in them with us. (Seattle.gov)

  • Don't idle. If you're stopped for more than 60 seconds, it's cheaper and more ecologically sound to turn off your car. (Seattle.gov)

  • Maintain your car. A car that gets regular tune-ups uses 9 percent less gas than a poorly maintained vehicle. Tires perform best when they're properly inflated — the nation's underinflated tires waste 2 billion gallons of gas a year. (Seattle.gov)

  • Read your newspaper, enjoy it, clip your favorite cartoons and columns, then recycle the rest. More than 30 million trees' worth of newsprint are thrown away each year in this country. (Northern Illinois University)

  • The Great Wall of Paper: If you stacked up the 4 million tons of office paper Americans throw away every year, you could build a 12-foot-high paper wall from New York to San Francisco. (Northern Illinois University)

  • Want to save a 35-foot-tall tree? Every time you recycle a stack of newspapers 6-foot-tall, you've saved a tree. (Northern Illinois University)

  • How efficient is aluminum recycling? It takes the same amount of energy to make 20 cans out of recycled material as one can out of new material. (Oberlin College)

  • Americans discard enough steel and iron to keep our automakers supplied year-round. (Oberlin College)

  • Some 90 percent of the energy your washing machine uses is spent on heating the water. Cold water's just fine — and your jeans won't shrink as much. (Oberlin College)