November 15th is America Recycles Day. It is a day to celebrate our nation’s progress in recycling, but also reflect on its problems. The New York Times op-ed written last month by John Tierney sparked outrage nationwide and received a whopping 487 comments on the web. Although there are MANY holes in his arguments and he seems to express an opinion against recycling, John acknowledges there is a lack of incentives for recycling in America.
An Economist article published in April discusses the state of recycling in America. Companies want to use recycled material, but it is costly compared to virgin material AND there is a low supply. The country’s recycling rate has been stagnant at 34% for 2 decades. Americans THROW AWAY $11.4 billion of recyclables per year, even though recycling an aluminum can emits 95% less greenhouse gas emissions.
Let's face it, America, we have a recycling problem.
Recycling has great economic, environmental, and community benefits, SO let's do something about it! When you throw something in the recycling bin, you are consciously making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint. This great ad campaign by Keep America Beautiful captures what could happen if we simply closed the loop-
It’s not complicated. You don’t have to rally your politicians or stop using your car. We just have to put materials in the right bin AND tell your friends and family to join. For America Recycles Day, take the pledge here.
And on November 15th, find a way to increase your personal recycling rate by reusing waste in some way, bringing food residue to a compost drop-off site, or making signs on your garbage bin that read- "Can I be recycled?"
And that, America, is how we RECYCLE.