Everyday Americans recycle their trash because they know it’s an important activity that can have a positive impact on the environment.
But once a year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets aside November 15 to remind everyone that recycling plays a dramatic role in reducing pollution. It’s a great day to recommit to recycling, and to consider adding some additional recycling activities to our daily routines.
The average American discards about 4.5 pounds of trash, also known as solid waste, every day. This trash goes mostly to landfills, where it is compacted and buried. Thirty-three percent of solid waste, or 83 million tons, is recovered and recycled or composted; and 54 percent, or 135 million tons, is disposed of in landfills.
But within your trash are many valuable resources which can be recycled and reused, such as glass bottles and jars, plastic detergent jugs, aluminum cans, paper containers and packaging, yard clippings and even food scraps. As the population grows and the amount of trash continues to grow, so will pressure on our landfills, our resources and our environment.
There is nothing new under the sun, according to the National Recycling Coalition. “Before the 1920s, 70 percent of U.S. cities ran programs to recycle certain materials. During World War II, industry recycled and reused about 25 percent of the waste stream.”
America Recycles Day helps to raise awareness of the importance of recycling today. The nation's composting and recycling rate rose from 7.7 percent of the waste stream in 1960 to 17 percent in 1990 and is currently hovering around 33 percent.
Your contribution matters. In 2008 -- the latest recycling statistics available -- recycling and composting 83 million tons of waste saved the equivalent of more than 10.2 billion gallons of gasoline.
To bring the idea of what can be saved closer to home, think about this: By tossing one aluminum soda into the recycling bin, you’ve just saved enough energy to run your TV for two hours.
It all comes back to our individual efforts. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!
For more information on recycling go to: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/solidwasterecycling.htm
For more information on America Recycles Day go to: http://www.nrc-recycle.org/americarecycles.aspx