When we make new products out of virgin materials, we expend energy to extract and process those materials. This includes burning fossil fuels. However, if we manufacture products using recycled materials, we reduce the need for virgin materials and save the energy required to extract and process them.
To estimate how much energy you can save by recycling certain products, EPA has developed a tool called the individual Waste Reduction Model (iWARM). This tool calculates how much energy you save by recycling aluminum cans, glass or plastic bottles, magazines or plastic grocery bags, and shows you how long those savings could power different electrical appliances.