When you walk by your kitchen garbage can, do you ever hear a tiny voice, crying "Help me! I want to be recycled!"
According to a new ad campaign from Keep America Beautiful, you might want to pay attention. Your bottles, cans, and cardboard and glass items and many other recyclable items are trying to communicate with you. They want to be recycled. And they need your help.
The "I Want to Be Recycled" campaign has been targeted to motivate Americans recycle every day. Created pro bono by San Francisco-based ad agency Pereira and O’Dell, the campaign shows that recyclable materials can be given another life and become something new if someone recycles. Think of it as reincarnation for household items.
This makes me wonder whether these household items believe in karma, too. Do the nicest plastic bottles come back as designer jeans and T-shirts? Or do the most sincere tin cans return as tubing in fancy bicycles?
This campaign directs audiences to IWantToBeRecycled.org, a searchable website that allows users to find where to recycle in their community. You can also contact Keep Liberty Beautiful or the Liberty County Solid Waste Department for information (912-884 5353 or 912-880-4888).
The campaign illustrates the recycling process through an interactive infographic and offers details on what materials can be recycled, how they should be recycled and what products they can become.
The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash at minimum each day, and, on the whole, the United States produces 250 million tons of trash a year. However, only about 35 percent of it is recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The National Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful launched the public service advertising campaign to address this concern by raising awareness of recycling.
According to research released by the Ad Council, only 52 percent of Americans say they are "very" or "extremely" knowledgeable about how to recycle. Additionally, only 38 percent say they are "avid recyclers," recycling as much as possible and willing to go out of their way to do so.
While there are barriers to recycling, among the most common reasons given for not recycling are that respondents did not have enough information about where to recycle or what types of materials to recycle.
Some of the top reasons to recycle are:
• Recycling conserves natural resources, such as trees.
• Recycling prevents pollution caused by the extracting and processing of raw materials.
• Recycling reduces the need for more landfills and incinerators.
• Recycling saves energy.
• Recycling creates jobs for both the recycling industry and manufacturing.
By putting recyclables in the recycling bin, you give them new life. Some materials can travel through the recycling and manufacturing process to be back on the store shelf in as little as 30 days. That park bench you rest on may have been a bottle you drank from just a few short weeks ago.
We have a drop-off recycling system with centers across Liberty County for many items; newspapers, magazines, paper, glass, plastics, aluminum and tin cans.
We also hold quarterly Recycle It! Fairs to recycle electronics, batteries, reusable paint, motor oil and antifreeze, clothing and other household goods. We work with law enforcement to properly dispose of prescription and over the counter medications. The next fair will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 10 in Hinesville, Midway and Walthourville.
To learn more about how to reduce waste and recycle, check out Keep Liberty Beautiful on Facebook or go to our website www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.
Swida is executive director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.