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.
Republished with permission from NEEF: https://www.neefusa.org/weather-and-climate/climate-change/america-recycles-day