America Recycles Day

Recycling Can Create 1.5 million New Jobs and Reduce Greenhouse Emissions

“A new report released today by a coalition of labor and environmental groups estimates that recycling 75 percent of the nation’s municipal waste, in combination with incentives for manufacturers to use recycled raw materials, will create nearly 1.5 million desperately needed new jobs by 2030.” - Read more…

Photo: Creative Commons/ Flickr user AndyArthur http://bit.ly/tWC9WU

11.15.11 America Recycles Day: Why Recycling Is Still King

Every day we are bombarded with more statistics and information about our environment and lectured to about how we can be more “green.” I’ll admit that it can be a little overwhelming at times. Everyone cares about the environment and wants to do the right thing. However, sometimes the information overload and constant lecturing can lead to a bit of a backlash. I think that people want to do what they can, but many aren’t willing to turn their lives upside down in the process. People also typically don’t like to be forced to do things or be made to feel guilty when they don’t. Thus, the green movement walks a fine line. It has to encourage people to make changes in their lifestyles that are reasonable, but it also has to ensure that it doesn’t alienate people by being too aggressive or pushing changes that are unreasonable.

This is why recycling is still king. It’s a simple way for people to make a significant contribution to help the environment without making a significant lifestyle change or giving up something that they love. Today is America Recycles Day, and it’s a perfect opportunity for people to examine their recycling routines and see if they can do more. If you are someone who is skeptical of new “green” initiatives, I can sympathize. However, recycling has long been a simple and fundamental way to make a difference without sacrificing anything you love.

My dad is a car guy. Always has been always will be. He can recite numbers from cars dating back to the 60’s. Want to know a certain car’s horsepower? No problem. Need to know the cargo capacity of an SUV? Sure thing. He passed that love of cars on to me. When I graduated high school, my gift was a trip to Skip Barber Racing School. It was an experience I will never forget. Ripping through those turns at breakneck speeds on the beautiful Lime Rock Park race track was something I will never forget.

A few weeks ago I watched this trailer for Forza 4 that so poignantly bemoaned the recent trend of the automotive industry away from performance. I found myself nodding my head in agreement. Some of the trends in this “growing age of safety and restraint” make me long for the days of the past. This isn’t to say that I don’t understand what is driving these trends. I accept the fact that environmental and safety concerns are here to stay, and that’s a good thing. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll ever gawk at Volt the way I do at a ‘Vette. I will never run my hand along the curves of a Prius the way I would on a Viper. I’m not the only one. Many “green” initiatives are going to face staunch opposition by many when they result in this type of “collateral damage.” People have strong attachments. They develop a certain comfort level with what they know.

Cars are only one example. Who knows what other initiatives are in the pipeline? Cutlery made of corn? I’ll pass. Energy efficient lights that contain mercury? No thanks. Only time will tell whether initiatives like these succeed or fail, but the one “green” initiative which has been around as long as I can remember and has no collateral damage is recycling. We all use products that can be recycled (paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, etc.), and it takes very little effort to do so. That is why it is so crucial for everyone to recycle as much as they possibly can.

Many companies are making it easier than ever to recycle. For example, let’s say you are the lucky winner of the Amazon Kindle Fire event on psGive, and you don’t know what to do with your existing Kindle. Everyone you know already has one so you can’t give it away, and you’ve used yours so much that it is displaying significant wear. Instead of letting it sit around and collect dust, Amazon makes it incredibly easy for you to recycle it. Just go here and you will be able to print out a UPS shipping label. After that, all you have to do is pack up your Kindle and drop it off at a UPS location. Best Buy also has a website dedicated to providing the resources needed to recycle just about any electronic product, whether or not it was purchased at Best Buy.

Today, on America Recycles Day, I urge you to take the pledge and begin recycling one new type of material. While it’s likely that recycling is already a part of your daily routine, it’s also likely that there is something else you could be recycling. Another option is to make an effort to purchase more products that are made from recycled materials. Did you know that you can purchase recycled motor oil? Take a few minutes to evaluate your recycling routine and see if you can make one simple change to improve. It could be as simple as recycling your printer’s ink cartridges.

Brought to you by Keep America Beautiful, America Recycles Day has been an annual event since 1997 and “is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States.” Keep America Beautiful, a valued partner of psGive, “follows a practical approach that unites citizens, businesses and government to find solutions that advance our core issues of preventing litter, reducing waste, and beautifying communities.” You can help support Keep America Beautiful by participating in psGive’s Kindle Fire event. The event is ending tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. EST so get your bids in now!

What new material will you begin recycling today?

-AK

America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. ARD is celebrated annually on November 15. The World Recycling Day celebrated in most countries, though falls on July 8. Thousands of events are held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to encourage Americans to sign personal pledges to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.