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Recycling makes a difference
Keep Liberty Beautiful
0314 Chemtall recycles
Goodwill Industries employees pick up electronics to be recycled from SNF Chemtall. Chemtall employees Jose Luis Medina, Greg Baker, McAllister Sr. and Faauma Talissa make sure used elctronics are recycled regularly. - photo by Photo provided.
Do you ever wonder if the things you do have any impact on the world? I guess most of us wonder whether our lives and actions make a difference at all. I personally believe we are all here for a purpose, and I think our daily choices impact those around us and our world. While I can’t really delve into the deeper meaning of life and our existence on Earth (because that is really not what this column is all about), I can tell you that if you choose to recycle, you make a difference.
Many local residents, businesses and industries understand this. But if you are not quite convinced, let me share a few recycling facts. Over time, we can all play significant roles in making the world healthier by saving natural resources and energy, reducing carbon emissions and reducing the amount of waste and toxins going into the environment.
Recycling glass
• Glass can be recycled virtually forever. It never wears out. That also means that when glass is thrown into landfills, it basically never decomposes.
• For every 2,000 pounds of glass that is recycled, we save more than 2,000 pounds of other resources (1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone and 151 pounds of feldspar).
• Most bottles and jars you use now contain at least 25 percent recycled material.
• The energy saved by recycling just one glass bottle could light a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
Recycling metals
• Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the energy needed to make aluminum from bauxite ore.
• For every ton of materials recycled in your community, one and a half tons of carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.
• For each aluminum can that you recycle, the energy saved could power a TV for three hours — that’s three episodes of “Lost” or six episodes of  “Modern Family.”
• In the United States, the amount of steel that is discarded and not recycled every year is enough to build all the new American-made cars for that year.
Recycling paper
• Many paper products can be recycled six times or more.
• Ninety-eight tons of various resources are required to make one ton of paper.
• Paper made from recycled paper uses 70 percent less energy to manufacture.
• A ton of paper made from recycled fibers conserves 7,000 gallons of water.
• Recycling five pounds of paper (or the equivalent of a stack of newspapers) will conserve enough water to offset the water used in a typical shower.
• According to the EPA, American workers throw away enough paper every year to build a 12-foot high wall from San Francisco to New York.
Recycling plastic
• Americans use 4 million plastic bottles every hour, but only 25 percent of plastic bottles are recycled at this point.
• For every ton of materials recycled in our community, one and a half tons of carbon dioxide emissions are reduced. While 87 percent of Georgians say recycling should be a top priority, more than 40 percent of what is in the average Georgia landfill could have been recycled. It was wasted instead. We are running out of landfill space in our world, so let’s not waste space with things that can be used again. If Georgians recycled just 1.7 million tons of the 2.6 million tons of recyclables they currently throw away annually, it would:
• Conserve 4 percent of the total energy consumed annually within the state — equal to the transportation energy consumed by more than 1,000,000 Georgians each year.
• Conserve more than 7 million barrels of oil, calculated at an annual savings of almost $700 million.
So the answer is yes, you can make a difference. Consider recycling at home and at work. The Earth will thank you for it!
Thanks to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs as well as the Washington State Department of Ecology for the statistical information used in this article.
Upcoming KLB Events:
The Great American Cleanup dates so far:
• March 27: City of Riceboro
• April 17: Cities of Gum Branch, Flemington, Midway and Walthourville
• April 22: Earth Day in the Park Festival
• April 24: City of Hinesville
• May 15: Recycle it! Fair for electronics and HHW items.

For more information on Keep Liberty County Beautiful programs, contact Swida at 880-4888 or
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