Monday, November 15, 2010

You’re a sustainability champion & you don’t even know it.

You may occasionally grumble about having to separate your trash into waste vs. recyclable items to ensure that they get to the curb on the right day, in the correct receptacle. Some of us don’t even have the luxury of curbside recycling and may grumble a little louder. So the approach of America Recycles Day (Monday, November 15) seems like a good time to think about why we do this. Here are six quick reasons recycling makes you a sustainability champion: 
Recycling saves energy
Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Recycling reduces air and water pollution
Recycling saves natural resources
Recycling creates jobs
Recycling saves space in landfills
Here’s a more specific example of the impact you can have just by recycling, say, your Sunday newspaper (if you’re still reading the print version): If every American recycled their newspaper just one day a week, we would save about 36 million trees a year. Production of recycled paper uses 80% less water and 65% less energy, and produces 95% less air pollution than virgin paper production. Yes, even the little things add up -- recycling even one aluminum can will save enough energy to power a television for three hours!

That’s a pretty powerful impact for very little effort on our part, and a great reason to celebrate recycling. And with plenty of positive impacts like these, it’s easy to get excited about it.

America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to recycling awareness. EarthShare member charity Keep America Beautiful is now in its second year as the national steward of America Recycles Day, and they have a website to help you plug into nationwide events. Disney Stores across the country are taking your old t-shirts to be recycled and turned into paper, and they’ll give you a special discount in return. Some communities are holding video game and used book swaps. Schools nationwide are engaging kids with ‘Waste Free Lunch Day’ challenges and hands-on activities to create awareness about recycling in the community. You can also plan and list your own event!

Visit America Recycles Day online to search their database for an event near you, download their Toolkit, or to register your own organization or group event. While you’re at it, here are a couple more ways you can help sustain our natural resources by recycling:

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