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November has a big day for recycling awareness

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POSTED: November 6, 2012 10:00 a.m.

November is all about recycling.

The 15th annual America Recycles Day is Nov. 15. Why should we single out one day a year to think about recycling?

Well, honestly, we shouldn’t — recycling is something we think about and do every day.

But America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.

According to americarecyclesday.org, since the day’s inception in 1997, it has grown to include millions of Americans pledging to improve their recycling habits at home and at work. Last year, 2 million people celebrated recycling on the day at more than 2,000 events nationwide.

We encourage you to take the pledge this month to start recycling or, if you already do recycle, consider adding another item to your recycling process.

If you are note sure that recycling really makes a difference, here are some interesting facts that might give you a new perspective on recycling. I think these facts can help you visualize the impact of recycling, as well as the impact of not recycling.

• In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle Earth 24 times. (www.epa.gov)

• Overall, Americans recovered 34 percent of waste generated in 2009. We threw away 161 million tons of material, which amounts to about 3 pounds of garbage per person per day. (Source: www.epa.gov)

• The recyclable materials in the U.S. waste stream would generate more than $7 billion if they were recycled. (www.politico.com)

• In 2009, we filled United States landfills with trash equivalent to the weight of 88 million cars. (www.epa.gov)

• In the United States, more than 100,000 aluminum cans are recycled each minute. That amounts to 53 billion cans recycled in 2010. However, more than $1 billion in aluminum cans were wasted in 2010. (www.cancentral.com)

• Used aluminum cans are recycled and back on the shelf as new cans in as few as 60 days. (www.cancentral.com)

• Americans wasted around 11 million pounds of sand with the glass bottles discarded in 2009. That amount could fill every room in the White House with sand 12 feet deep. (www.epa.gov)

• A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days. (www.gpi.org)

• Recycling steel and tin cans saves between 60 and 74 percent of the energy used to produce them from raw materials. (www.epa.gov)

• In 2010, Americans recovered 63.5 percent of U.S. paper — an 89 percent increase in recovery since 1990. However, we threw away $2.8 billion worth of paper. (American Forest & Paper Association, paperrecycles.org and KAB calculations)

• In 2010, Americans trashed enough paper to cover 26,700 football fields or 17,800 soccer fields in paper three feet deep. (American Forest & Paper Association, paperrecycles.org and KAB calculations)

• Recycled paper production creates 74 percent less air pollution and 35 percent less water pollution than virgin paper production. (www.afandpa.org)

Recycling is the one simple action everyone can do and make a healthy difference for the environment.

Please take the pledge this month at one of our local events or go online to www.americarecyclesday.com and join the millions of people who make recycling a way of life.

 

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