We Americans are pretty trashy. No, I am not talking about the Hollywood celebrities who represent us so well on the global scene — although many of them are pretty trashy, too. We Americans generate a lot of garbage. Although we only represent 5 percent of the world’s population, we generate more than 30 percent of the world’s garbage, according to the National Recycling Coalition. Their estimates range from 4 pounds to a whopping 7 1/2 pounds of trash generated per person per day in our country. Trash is produced at an alarming rate of 1,609 pounds of trash per person per year, according to all-recycling-facts.com.
Recycling benefits us in more ways than just reducing the amount of waste and toxins in landfills. Consider:
• Recycling saves energy. For example, it takes 12-20 times more energy to make aluminum from bauxite ore than from recycled aluminum, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Recycled glass melts at a much lower temperature in the production process than “virgin” products — thus generating energy savings.
• Recycling saves natural resources and helps to protect the environment. Using recycled material slows the depletion of nonrenewable resources such as metal ores, oil and natural gas. This reduces the encroachment of new mining and drilling operations on sensitive lands. By the way, are you concerned about our dependence on foreign oil? Recycling a ton of plastic saves the energy equivalent of up to 2,000 gallons of gasoline, according to ODNR.
• Recycling reduces pollution. More than 200 million gallons of used oil are improperly disposed of each year, according to the EPA. This oil often ends up in our waterways and severely affects our water quality. Properly recycled motor oil from one oil change protects a million gallons of drinking water. That is a year’s supply of safe water for 50 people, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
• Recycling provides raw materials for industry. According to keepgeorgiabeautiful.org, about 3,500 20-ounce bottles can be used to produce carpeting for an average-size living room, and five 2-liter bottles yield enough fiber for an extra-large T-shirt.
• Recycling creates jobs. Georgia has numerous industries that need recycled materials for production. By increasing the recycling collection in our state, we can also boost the Georgia business economy. Yes, it does help all of us — not just those businesses. More jobs benefit all of us.
Thank you to all of you who do recycle already. Those of you who aren’t recycling: Stop reading and thinking about it and just do it! Diverting waste items — especially household hazardous waste items, like electronics, cell phones, batteries, auto fluids, tires, paint, etc. — protects our land and waters from toxins from these items when they are disposed of improperly.
Our next Recycle It! Fair for these items will be from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Liberty County Health Department on Highway 84, so mark your calendars.
Recycling is the right thing to do for all Americans whether you are required to do so or not, so do it! We are classy — not trashy!
Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events
Sept. 8-15: National Planting Day Activities — to promote planting native plants in our community.
Sept. 8: St Catherine’s Island Beach Sweep — Space is limited for this annual cleanup event, so contact us today!
For information on these events, call 610-3968 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.