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November 15th is America Recycles Day

Release Date: 11/14/2006
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA -- November 15th is America Recycles Day. Each year our country produces almost 240 million tons of municipal solid waste, equivalent to nearly 4 pounds of waste per person each day, most of which is recyclable.

When we recycle, we conserve energy and natural resources, reduce air and water pollution and reduce greenhouse gases. By using our resources wisely, we strengthen our environment and our economy. Thousands of products are recyclable, especially paper, yard waste, motor oil, tires, plastics, glass, batteries, building materials and obsolete electronic products.

In 2005, recycling and composting activities prevented almost 78 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.

Durable goods (tires, appliances, and furniture) and nondurable goods (paper and clothing) account for several million tons of the solid waste stream. While most Americans are helping by separating their trash, there are many more steps you can take to make our communities cleaner, healthier places to live.

Here is how each of us can make a difference by routinely reducing, re-using and recycling materials at home and throughout our communities--and encouraging our neighbors to do the same:

1. Buy recycled products. When we buy recycled products, we create an economic incentive for recyclable materials to be collected, manufactured, and marketed as new products.

2. Purchase durable, long lasting goods.

3. Re-use items by repairing them, donating them to charity and community groups, or selling them also reduces waste.

4. Use a product more than once, either for the same purpose or for a different purpose. Reusing, when possible, is preferable to recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again.

5. Reduce your packaging: buy bulk or concentrated products when you can.

6. Another form of recycling is composting. Composting is the controlled biological decomposition of organic matter, such as food and yard wastes, into humus, a soil-like material. Composting is nature's way of recycling organic wastes into new soil used in vegetable and flower gardens, landscaping, and many other applications.