America Recycles Day is Nov. 15

Recycling works for us at least three ways it reduces waste generation, it provides material to make into products, and it uses about 75 percent less energy than using virgin materials. Recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to power a three-bedroom house for an entire year. This year America Recycles Day is Nov. 15. Take five minutes to reevaluate your recycling routine. Are you using Minneapolis recycling services fully? Every time you get ready to throw something away, think twice is it really trash, or can it be recycled? Show your support for recycling by taking the recycling pledge.

Until the modern era, recycling was common. Before the 1920s, 70 percent of U.S. cities ran programs to recycle certain materials. During World War II, industry recycled and reused about 25 percent of the waste stream. Recycling is again on the upswing. The nation's composting and recycling rate rose from 7.7 percent of the waste stream in 1960 to 17 percent in 1990. It's currently up to around 33 percent.

What gets recycled into what? Sometimes it's exactly what you'd expect: old boxes and newspapers turn into new boxes and newspapers. But some of the end products may surprise you. Glass beverage containers can be recycled over and over again or used for beverage containers, roads, marbles, decorative tiles and surfboards. Five plastic soda bottles yield enough fiber for one extra large T-shirt, one square foot of carpet or enough insulation to fill one ski jacket. Recycled steel and aluminum finds its way into new cars, bikes, appliances, cookware and a whole lot more.

Recycling is easy in Minneapolis. More than 90 percent of the households in Minneapolis participate in the City's recycling program, with the average resident recycling around 2.3 pounds of material per day. Twenty-six recycling trucks service an average of 1,000 households per route per day, bringing in around three to four tons of recyclables per truck. Together, Minneapolis recycling customers set out more than 23,000 tons of cans, glass, newspaper, etc., to be collected and recycled into new products every year.

It’s even easy for residents to recycle their old electronics. In fact, Minneapolis is the only city in the nation where electronics are picked up regularly for recycling. Just set it next to your garbage cart on your recycling day with a sign on it that says, "for solid waste." A crew will come back for it the next business day. Minneapolis will also pick up your discarded appliances and furniture.

To get more information and to find out what to do and what items you can recycle, visit our e-mail reminder before each recycling day.

November 10, 2009

Published Nov. 10, 2009