Most of us have been blessed with an abundance of things, maybe even an excess of material goods. I know I am guilty.
I am sort of addicted to the latest trendy gadget or appliance. I am not the only one. Even low-income Americans seem rich compared to many citizens of the world. With the many blessings we have materially comes the responsibility to use these goods wisely and to find reuses.
Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. It generates a host of environmental, financial and social benefits. Unfortunately, in Georgia more than 2.3 million tons of the discarded material that enters the waste stream each year could be recycled but isn’t. Reducing waste and recycling items could be one of your most significant contributions for our environment and our economy.
So why do people recycle? Most people have very specific reasons. To a consumer it may be because "I want my grocery costs to be lower" or "I want lower gas prices." To a busy mom it may be "I want a healthy and clean world for my children."
To a businessperson it may be "Recycling paper and supplies in my office reduces costs and can increase profits." To a sportsman, it may be "I like to eat the fish I catch."
The importance of recycling is significant for us all, but whether you are a mom or a senior citizen, here are some facts about the benefits for our environment and our economy:
• A quart of motor oil that is not properly recycled can pollute up to 250,000 gallons of water.
• For every 3,700 two-liter bottles recycled a barrel of oil (42 gallons) is saved.
• Recycling can reduce product packaging costs and lower industrial energy costs that is passed on to consumers.
• Recycling means fewer products and less toxins in the waste stream will enter landfills.
• Up to 40 percent of items in landfills are paper that could be recycled. And it can be recycled several times. This can reduce industrial energy costs. Recycling, paper, cardboard, etc., also reduces waste disposal costs.
Using recycled materials saves fossil fuel because these items have already been refined and processed once. Manufacturing these materials a second time requires less energy. For example, recycling aluminum saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its original source, bauxite.
Recycling a pound of steel saves enough energy to light a 60-watt bulb for 26 hours.
So, if you do recycle, thank you and keep looking for ways to recycle or reuse as many products as you can. If you don’t recycle, well, isn’t it about time?
And don’t forget, we are hosting a Shred It! Day in conjunction with this quarter’s Recycle It! Fairs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 19. The fair locations are:
• Liberty County Health Department (the only the location for the Shred It! Day)
1113 East Oglethorpe Highway
• Liberty County Community Complex
9397 E. Oglethorpe in Midway
• Walthourville City Hall
222 Busbee Drive
For questions about shredding or recycling, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 912-880-4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.