America Recycles Day is Tuesday, Nov. 15, and PPI encourages you to make the #BeRecycled pledge to learn about recycling in your community, take action to improve recycling and share what you learned about recycling with others. Did you know that, on average, each American generates 4.9 pounds of household trash every day? That’s more than 1,700 pounds of household waste per person in a single year. According to the US EPA, half of this waste is destined for the landfill while a third of it is recycled and composted.
The first step in decreasing waste is to reduce consumption and use durable goods, but when that can’t be done, strengthen your recycling game. By improving recycling, you can help strengthen the economy, conserve natural resources, save energy, reduce pollution and prevent excess materials from entering landfills.
Here are a few tips that can help:
- Know what you can recycle – Not all recycling centers accept the same materials, and if you contaminate your recycling with unaccepted items, then your entire recyclables bin could be landfilled. Contact your service provider and find out if you’re recycling correctly. If you don’t have a provider, consider using Earth911’s recycling search or a similar tool to find one.
- Know where “unrecyclable” materials can be recycled – Plastic bags, e-waste, fabrics, and many other items are not commonly accepted in curb-side recycling, but they can still be recycled. Consider using Earth911’s recycling search or a similar tool to find out where to take items your provider does not accept.
- Recycle more – Challenge yourself to not throw any recyclables into the trash bin and to recycle them instead. As of 2018, the EPA found that only two thirds of paper waste is recycled, one quarter of glass is recycled, and under a tenth of plastic is recycled—so there is definite room for improvement. More recycling also strengthens the circular economy, which can benefit all of us.
- Use items made of recycled materials – when making purchases, select products produced with recycled materials. This strengthens the recyclables market and encourages producers to use fewer new materials.
- Spread the word – inform others about ways they can improve their own recycling efforts and encourage them to take the #BeRecycled pledge. More people recycling correctly leads to a better recycling market and a healthier planet.
- Republic Services offers these handouts and more recycling information on their website, RecyclingSimplified.com. Just click the image for a PDF file.
- US EPA also has some great resources. Just click the image to access a downloadable file.