November 15th is America Recycles Day. While we should recycle every day, America Recycles Day is an opportunity to go the extra mile if you haven’t already. A few ideas of what you can do on November 15th:
- only use e-Stewards certified recyclers for electronic waste
- help out with recycling efforts in your community
- raise responsible recycling awareness online
- petition for positive changes to recycling practices in industries and governments
- learn why we need to recycle responsibly
That’s a Lotta Trash
So why do we need to always recycle? And what should we be recycling? The answer is…everything we can.
Always and everything might seem a bit overwhelming, but at our current rate of consumption Americans are throwing out millions of dollars worth of plastic, aluminum, electronics and paper. Even food can be recycled as mineral-rich compost and returned to the earth as much needed fertilizer or mulch. And old clothing/textiles can be reused as donations, crafts or mulch. Some facts on how much we toss out:
- Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, enough to fill Bush Stadium from top to bottom twice a day! (via Environmental Protection Agency)
- 2,440,000 tons of electronic waste, including computers, phones, consoles, etc., was disposed of in 2010. 1,790,000 tons of that were thrown away, while only 27% was recycled. (Via Electronic TakeBack Council)
- Every year we generate around 14 million tons of food waste, which is 106 pounds of food waste per person. 570,000 tons of this is composted for a 4.1% recovery rate. The rest, or 13.4 million tons is incinerated or put in landfills. (via Environmental Protection Agency)
- Every year, Americans throw away enough paper, plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. (via Clean Air Council)
I Should Recycle Because…?
Why are any of the above reasons important? Because:
- 75% of everything American’s throw away is recyclable—but we only recycle about 30% of our trash (via the EPA)
- One ton of used cell phones (6000 phones) yield $15,000 in precious metals. (via Electronics Takeback Coalition)
- Due in part to mineral depletion in soil, the average calcium levels in twelve fresh vegetables dropped 27%; iron levels 37%; vitamin A levels 21%, and vitamin C levels 30% from 1975 to 1997 in a Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data. (via Scientific American)
- Doubling the national recycling rate could create over 1 million new green jobs. (via Clean Air Council)
- The amount of plastic bottles recycled in 2011 provided the raw material needed to make about 7 million extra large t-shirts.(via America Recycles Day)
How About Some Tartar Sauce for That Cell Phone
There are many, many more reasons to recycle, including safeguarding the environment for ourselves, not just future generations. As it is now, toxins are already leeching out through improperly disposed electronics. These toxins find their way through the ecosystem, up the food chain, onto dinner tables, and ultimately, to us.
Start Now—Make Change Happen
Recycling starts at home, and is easier than you think. Many local recycling plants will gladly inform you of what they do and don’t take. To safely, ethically and responsibly recycle electronic waste, find a certified e-Stewards recycler.
Certified e-Stewards recyclers follow the highest certification standard in the e-waste recycling industry: the e-Stewards Standard. Your e-waste will be safely broken down into usable components, which will be recycled, and the toxins within carefully disposed of. Laborers at e-Stewards certified recycling facilities are protected from these hazards and ensure you are too.
November 15th, 2013: Mark Your Calendar
Tomorrow, remember to do a little more to spread the recycling goodness around—reuse those old butter tubs (they make great craft item storage containers), help someone figure out who takes #5 plastics in your area, find a certified e-Stewards recycler to get those cords in your closet finally gone, and do a little more for the environment and yourself.