America Recycles Day is Thursday, Nov. 15, although recycling is something we should think about and do every day. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products. Since its inception in 1997, it has grown to include millions of Americans pledging to improve their recycling habits at home and at work. The recycling rate in the United States has increased almost every year. The current rate is 34 percent, according to www.americarecyclesday.org, so if you are not recycling yet, it is time to join us. If you already recycle, here are some easy ideas from www.americarecyclesday.org for collecting even more!
• The caps on your plastic bottles are recyclable, too. Empty your bottle, replace the cap and recycle.
• Along with plastic grocery bags, recycle the bags from your dry cleaner, bread bags and newspapers. Remember to take clean, dry bags to recycling centers or retailers with plastic-bag recycling bins.
• Paper cups aren’t always recyclable because of the wax lining, but don’t forget to recycle the cardboard sleeve that comes with your coffee cup.
• According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper and cardboard are America’s most recycled materials by weight. In addition to newspaper, most communities accept corrugated cardboard as well as cereal and tissue boxes. In Liberty County, light cardboard can be added to the bin for newspapers. We also accept catalogs and phone books.
• The recycling process doesn’t stop at the bin. After materials are processed and back on the shelf as new items, you still can make a difference by buying recycled products. Look for products and packaging with recycled content (and minimal packaging, if possible) to do your part as a recycling-conscious consumer.
• During car trips, keep two litter bags in your car — one for your trash and one for recyclables. Pre-sorting makes it easier to transfer recyclables into a recycling bin once you reach your destination.
• Minimizing the trash we generate and reusing products reduces our impact on the planet and our resources. For example, consider reusing that plastic bag. Also reduce unwanted mail and catalogs by unsubscribing at CatalogChoice.org.
• Putting materials in your recycling bin that aren’t collected in our community can contaminate the recycling process and create extra work for our hardworking recycling-collection employees. If you think you have recyclables that our county’s program does not accept, check with KLB.
• Aluminum and steel cans and other metals are among the most valuable materials in the recycling stream. Most metals can be recycled again and again and again.
• More than 100 million cell phones are “retired” each year to our drawers and closets, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Do you have out-of-use phones in your home? Consider donating them — and any electronics — at the next Recycle It! Fair from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the health department.
• Consider composting your food waste. If you aren’t quite ready for a compost bin or pile, consider tossing a few biodegradable items into your garden or window boxes instead of the trash. Egg shells and coffee grounds enrich soil and they break down easily.
Through the simple act of recycling and buying recycled products, consumers — like you and me — can create the momentum that builds materials markets and fills the supply chain of recycled (raw) materials that can help fuel our economy. This will minimize the waste going into our landfills and help create new businesses and jobs. Please celebrate America Recycles Day this week and take the pledge at one of our local events or online at www.americarecyclesday.com. Join the millions of people who make recycling a way of life!
Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events
• Nov. 15: America Recycles Day. Take the pledge to Recycle!
• Nov. 17: Recycle It! Fair from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Liberty County Health Department. For more information, call KLB at 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.