Climate action issues: Increase recycling rates, save the planet

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

Evidence is mounting that climate change is real and impacting our planet right now. Last summer had many weather extremes: floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat. These weather-related disasters fit patterns predicted by the World Meteorological Organization and the International Panel on Climate Change. These organizations predicted there would be “more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming.”

Although these types of extremes have happened throughout history, they are happening more often. Several examples from around the globe demonstrate this point: Russia had the hottest summer on record with widespread droughts and wildfires; Pakistan had the heaviest rains on record and flooding was the worst natural disaster in history; China had the worst floods in decades with heavy landslides. In the U.S., Iowa had the wettest month on record with damaging floods. And, in the Arctic, there is increasing summer melt with rising sea levels.

Everyone talks about the importance of going green, but to save the planet, we need action. With the potential to decrease global emissions by up to 3 percent, recycling is one of the best, most cost effective ways to decrease harmful emissions through landfill avoidance, energy efficiency and preservation of natural resources. Recycling is as practical, effective and timely as changing to energy efficient light bulbs and insulating our homes.

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