Separating resources from trash: America Recycles Day is Nov. 15
On America Recycles Day Nov. 15, we can celebrate that Minnesota recycles more than 2 million tons a year — that’s the second best rate in the country. More than 19,000 Minnesota jobs involve recycling.
When you and your neighbors recycle, you create at least three benefits: you reduce garbage, you provide material to make into new products, and you make it possible for manufacturers to use an average of 75 percent less energy than using virgin materials. What happens when you recycle paper? Recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to power a three-bedroom house for an entire year. Besides easily recognizable paper products (e.g., writing paper or paper towels), more than 5,000 products can be made from recycled paper, including masking tape, paper money, bandages, hospital gowns, car insulation, lampshades and egg cartons.
Even with the second-best rate in the country, Minnesotans could recycle much more. About one-third of what we throw away at home could have been recycled in curbside programs. Whether you are a dedicated recycler or new to the recycling game, consider a commitment to do more. Ask yourself:
- Do I recycle all I can at curbside? If youre not sure, go to What to Do List on the Solid Waste & Recycling website for a list of things that can and can’t be recycled.
- Do I recycle old cell phones, VCRs and other electronic equipment? It’s against Minnesota law to put them in the garbage, so if you’re not sure how to recycle them, it’s easy; 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.
- What about in the bathroom, laundry room and home office — do I have containers there to collect toothpaste boxes, laundry detergent bottles and office paper?
With our commitment, recycling benefits will only continue to increase:
- Creating jobs – More than 19,000 jobs already exist in the recycling industry in Minnesota.
- Reducing our taxes – Each year, the recycling industry contributes more than $64 million in taxes, which help pay for our public services.
- Cutting waste – Recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
- Cleaner air – Recycling in Minnesota reduces emissions equal to taking 2.3 million cars off the road.
To learn more about what you can do to reduce, reuse and recycle, visit www.RethinkRecycling.com.
Ready to get involved? Pledge, commit and share at www.americarecyclesday.org.
Published Nov. 12, 2010