For recycling to work, everyone has to participate in each phase of the loop. From government and industry, to organizations, small businesses, and people at home, every American can make recycling a part of their daily routine.
Just think about it. Successful recycling programs are just people taking the time to collect recyclable materials that would otherwise be thrown away in the trash. If we work to remember recyclables as commodities, not waste, we can do a lot to save resources and money. For example:
- In 1999, recycling and composting activities prevented about 64 million tons of material from ending up in landfills and incinerators. Today, this country recycles 32 percent of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.
- While recycling has grown in general, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically: 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum beer and soft drink cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging, and 67 percent of all major appliances are now recycled.
- Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 2005, almost 9,000 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation. As of 2005, about 500 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.
So Hoosiers, think about it:
- Recycle at home. Find out if there is a recycling program in your community. If so, participate in the program by separating and putting out your recyclables for curbside pickup or taking them to your local drop-off or buy-back center.
- Shop smarter. Use products in containers that can be recycled in your community and items that can be repaired or reused. Also, support recycling markets by buying and using products made from recycled materials.
- Recycle on the Go! Look for recycling places in public spaces. If you can't find a recycling place, ask the responsible authority to look into installing one so you can recycle on the go.
You also can visit the Recycling Guys where they can help you calculate the impact of your annual recycling efforts with the Environmental Impact Tool. Everyone doing just a little will save tons of waste from going into landfills.