Published on November 14th, 2016 | by Andrea Bertoli
Celebrate America Recycles Day, November 15
This is a combination of articles from National Environmental Education and Training Foundation (NEEF), used with permission.
The amount of waste Americans generate has been on the rise – from 3.66 pounds per person in 1980 to 4.4 pounds per person in 2013 – but we’re also recycling and composting more. Today we recycle or compost about 34% of our waste, up from less than 10% in 1980.
In 2013, Americans recycled and composted 87 million tons of waste. Keeping waste out of landfills and incinerators reduced CO2 emissions by more 186 million metric tons – the equivalent to the annual emissions of 39 million cars – and saved enough energy to power 10 million households for a year.
November 15 is America Recycles Day. Take this opportunity to scour your home, school, or office for unusual items that you don’t need any more but can be recycled:
- hair care and mouthwash bottles;
- plastic bags and plastic wrap used to package paper towels, toilet paper, and dry-cleaning;
- mobile phones, tablets, computers, video game consoles, TVs, and other electronics.
Recycling these items gives them new life. Plastic containers can become new plastic products, carpeting, or car parts. Plastic bags and plastic wrap can become new plastic bags, shopping carts, or fencing and deck materials. Valuable metals from electronics can be used in jewelry, new electronics, and car parts.
Before tossing something in the trash bin, find out if it can be recycled. Visit www.iwanttoberecycled.org to learn more about the lifecycle of recycled products and find a recycling center where you live.
Trash-less Living Resources from your friends at Important Media (that’s us!)
Recycling information you need to know from NEEF
DID YOU KNOW?
- In 2013, Americans recycled 63% of the paper, 27% of the glass, and 9% of the plastics they used.
- Recycling one million cell phones can recover 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium.
The extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and final disposal of all consumer products and packaging, excluding food, accounts for 29% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling items such as paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, batteries, used oil, tires, and electronics reduces the need to extract new raw materials from the earth and can help reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.
For example, recycling paper allows it to be reused to make new paper products, reducing the amount of trees and other natural resources used to make new paper. Recycling a ton of paper can save the energy equivalent of 166 gallons of gasoline.
Recycling items can also save money. For instance, recycling glass to make new glass is typically cheaper than using new natural resources.
What you can do as a consumer
- Recycle when possible.
- Discover the benefits of recycling paper, batteries, plastics, glass, used oil, household hazardous waste, and tires(link is external).
- Discover the benefits of recycling electronic items
- Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful. 2015. “Electronics (E-scrap).” Accessed October 26. http://www.iwanttoberecycled.org/learn/electronics(link is external).
- Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful. 2015. “Plastic Bags and Film.” Accessed October 26. http://www.iwanttoberecycled.org/learn/bags(link is external).
- Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful. 2015. “Plastic Bottles and Containers.” Accessed October 26. http://www.iwanttoberecycled.org/learn/bottle(link is external).
- Keep America Beautiful. 2015. “Keep America Beautiful Brings Focus to “Bathrooms, Bags & Gadgets” for America Recycles Day 2015.” Accessed October 26. http://americarecyclesday.org/2015/10/15/keep-america-beautiful-brings-focus-to-bathrooms-bags-gadgets-for-america-recycles-day-2015(link is external).
- US EPA. 2015. “Infographic – Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States.” Accessed October 26. http://www3.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/infographic/index.htm(link is external)
- EPA. 2015. “Climate Change and Waste”. Accessed November 5. http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-waste/(link is external).
- EPA. 2015. “Electronics Donation and Recycling”. Accessed November 5. http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling(link is external).
- EPA. 2015. “Glass”. Accessed November 5. http://www3.epa.gov/warm/pdfs/Glass.pdf(link is external).
- EPA. 2015. “How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables”. Accessed November 5. http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/how-do-i-recycle-common-recyclables(link is external).
- EPA. 2015. “Infographic – Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States”. Accessed November 5. http://www3.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/infographic/index.htm(link is external).
- EPA. 2015. “Recycling Basics”. Accessed November 5. http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics