Every day is a great day to recycle. Now, as families get children ready for school, I hope they remember to turn in outgrown uniforms so they can be reused.
As we get ready for a needed season change, now is also a good time to sort through clothes and shoes to find what could be recycled. Many organizations and churches accept gently used clothing that will be appreciated by other families.
Unfortunately, many of us toss items into the trash instead of the recycle bin. With only 35 percent of trash being recycled, the United States wastes an enormous number of products that could be used again. Recycling is of value energy-wise as well. It almost always costs less to use recycled items in production than using virgin natural resources. On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill and $65 to $75 to burn it. When you consider how much waste is generated even daily, that is a tremendous amount of cash wasted.
Consider these facts:
• The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a CFL bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
• Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours or the equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline.
• The wood and paper we throw away each year are enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.
• Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning.
• Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water.
Recycling reduces the need for new raw materials, so we can conserve precious resources. Consider these facts:
• There is no limit to the number of times an aluminum can can be recycled. We use 80 billion soda cans in the U.S. every year.
• Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1 percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.
• If all of our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year. Yes, 250 million.
• If Americans recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25 million trees a year.
• Mining and transporting raw materials for glass produces approximately 385 pounds of waste for every ton of glass. Substituting recycled glass for half of the raw materials cuts waste by 80 percent.
It is easy to recycle routine items, like paper, magazines, glass, plastics, and aluminum and tin cans, by dropping them off at any of the recycling drop-off sites around the county, but we also offer Recycle It! Fairs each quarter in three locations. At these fairs, residents can recycle electronics, cellphones, household batteries, CFL bulbs and fluorescent lights, usable paint, car batteries, motor oil and antifreeze. The next fair will be Sept. 10.
Find out more about recycling and the upcoming Recycle It! Fairs by contacting Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880-4888 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org check out our website www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.
Swida is executive director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.