Recycling and recycling education are the focus for Keep Liberty Beautiful during November. Our local program is participating in an annual campaign, America Recycles Day, on Nov. 15 to encourage Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.
“America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products,” according to www.keepevansvillebeautiful.org. “Since its inception in 1997, it has grown to include millions of Americans pledging to increase their recycling habits at home and work.”
America Recycles Day 2011 is sponsored nationally by Keep America Beautiful, Nestle Waters and the American Chemistry Council.
One of the comments I hear most often around the community is, “I know I should be recycling, but I am not sure how to get started. I don’t have a lot of time. Is it more trouble than I can handle?”
Many times, I think well-meaning folks, who already are involved in many volunteer projects, are almost confessing a guilty secret to me when I hear this.
First, don’t be embarrassed if you are not recycling yet. About half the population still doesn’t recycle.
Secondly, just get started. It does not have to be hard. Keep this simple.
Choose one item that you and your family or coworkers use a lot. It could be paper or those overwhelmingly popular individual water bottles, which, by the way, simply could be obliterated by using reusable drink containers and buying a water purifier container. This significantly could reduce the amount of waste generated and save you a lot of money at the same time.
But back to recycling: Choose one item and then find a container to collect them in each week. No, you do not need a special blue recycling bin to recycle at home or at work, although the companies that manufacture those things would like for you to think so. It can be a plastic container or a box or even canvas bags.
I have mentioned several times that I use canvas shopping bags that hang on hooks because space is at a premium at home. We have no room for bins.
We also use a local solid waste convenience center for garbage disposal and recycling drop-off, so we just grab our bags and take our recycling when we make our garbage run. It works for us.
In a community with recycling drop-off centers — like ours — the bags are very convenient and easier to carry than cumbersome bins.
At Keep Liberty Beautiful, we have free bags available for people who are interested in using them for recycling or shopping. But, quite frankly, any bag or container that works in your situation will do.
Recycling does not have to incur an extra cost for you. It also can take a minimal amount of effort. When we recycle drink and food containers, we simply rinse or drain them in the sink. When they are dry, we place them in our bags until our next garbage run. It is simple enough.
Just don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to go from zero to 50 in six seconds. Start with one item. Once you comfortably have added it to your routine, consider adding another item or two.
You soon will see that it really is not much effort. It is just a change in process. My husband has one item that he is responsible for recycling — his beverage (beer) bottles. I take care of everything else.
He knows his commitment has to be at least this much. It was a struggle for him at first because he is quite set in his ways, but now he is proficient at recycling.
Recycling is a simple way for all Americans to protect the environment, preserve our natural resources and contribute to the economic well-being of our country. In conjunction with America Recycles Day, KLB also is promoting recycling events and education this season. We will partner with Goodwill Industries and Coastal Auto and Recycling to host our quarterly Recycle It! Fair on Nov. 19 to collect household hazardous waste materials and household goods, like paint, batteries and fluorescent bulbs. We will list all acceptable items in upcoming ads and articles.
During the week of Nov. 14-19, we also will hold a community tire roundup for Liberty County citizens. Tires can be turned in for free Nov. 14-18 at the Liberty County Solid Waste Transfer Station between 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Residents must have proof of county residency — a Liberty tag or driver’s license — and we cannot accept tires from commercial enterprises.
We also will accept tires at our Recycle It! Fair from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 19. Once again, only noncommercial tires will be accepted.
Several local schools are having recycling collection efforts or pledge days. Some schools even are participating in a national recycling competition called Recycle-Bowl. I hope you will support their efforts as they try to increase recycling in their schools.
Recycling containers and papers at home, work and school is a great start, but each of us also can close the recycling loop by buying recycled products whenever possible. We also can look for ways to reduce the amount of waste that we actually generate. Recycling is a natural thing to do.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many easily recycled materials still are thrown away. For example, 78 percent of glass containers, 60 percent of aluminum cans, 41 percent of steel cans and 45 percent of paper and paperboard containers and packaging are not recycled. What a waste.
As a result of the ARD campaign, millions of people each year become better informed about the advantages of recycling at home and buying recycled products.
Last year, thousands signed or emailed pledges to recycle and buy recycled products.
Maybe it is time for you to take that pledge, too. You can take the pledge online at www.americarecyclesday.org or you can make your own pledge today for that first item that works for you.
Take the pledge now if you do not recycle. Recycling is the one simple change in your life that can make long-term differences in our environment.
For more information, call KLB at 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.