November 15, 2012

Would You Dive Into the Trash to Rescue a Recyclable? ~ Jeff Kart

Dig in.

Why do you recycle? Out of shame? And if you don’t recycle, shame on you!

Either way, there’s nothing like a national poll to make you look in the mirror (or the trash) and see how you stack up.

A national day set aside for recycling, as in November 15, America Recycles Day, doesn’t hurt either. Don’t worry, after November 15, you can forget about recycling for another year. Just kidding. Don’t.

America Recycles Day is said to be “the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to embrace more of the everyday actions that lead to a sustainable lifestyle.”

According to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, done by the Kelton research firm:

  • >> 61 percent of Americans say they are more eco-friendly than five years ago (back in 2007).
  • >> 62 percent expect to be taking more eco-friendly actions and to be recycling more items in the next five years (by 2017).
  • >> 92 percent of Americans typically use a recycling bin.
  • >> 73 percent always or frequently recycle plastic bottles.
  • >> 67 percent want to learn more about simple actions they can take to benefit the environment.
  • >> 29 percent would dig into their trash to rescue a recyclable item.

That last one made me wonder.

How often have I done this?

More than I care to remember, dirty hands and all. As for the second to last one, on those simple actions: How about 50 simple ways to help and a bonus Recycling Locator from Earth911?

America Recycles Day and the survey itself may be a little questionable, based on its association with “Plastics Make it Possible.”

But those folks, aka the American Chemistry Council, are encouraging us to recycle more of the plastics we use every day.

That’s a lot.

Americans reportedly buy about 30 billion plastic water bottles a year. Eight out of every 10 bottles end up in a landfill.

The plastics people say, “consumers play the most important role in the sustainable lifecycle of plastics: they are both the beginning and the end.”

More use of plastics made from plants instead of oil wouldn’t hurt, either.

Still, you can keep plastics out of landfills by using your bins and close the loop by buying products made from recycled materials.

For instance, writers sometimes chew on pens for concentration (guilty).

At the store the other day, while buying school supplies for my oldest daughter, I stumbled upon ink pens made from recycled plastic water bottles.

Who knew?

Beyond the curb, other stuff you can recycle are plastic bags, product wraps, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags at participating grocery and retail store locations.

Jeff Kart is a Great Lakes native, freelance journalist and blogger, former newspaper reporter, current environmental communications consultant, social media networker, dad, husband, and a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Illinois. He likes camping, music, and shooting arrows.




Editor: Olga Feingold

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