America Recycles Day

Each year on November 15th, America Recycles Day (ARD) is celebrated here in the United States. The day is dedicating to promoting environmental awareness among Americans and encouraging them to recycle as well as to shop for products made from recyclables. America Recycles Day serves to promote the social, economic and most importantly environmental benefits of recycling, and to motivate more people to join the movement to help create and maintain a better natural environment.

Since the very first America Recycles day in 1997, the day has helped millions of Americans to become better informed about the extreme importance of recycling and purchasing products that have been made from recycled materials. In conjunction with American Recycles Day, the National Recycling Coalition plays another important role by assisting volunteer coordinators in planning and organizing events in hundreds of communities all across the nation to raise awareness and educate the general public about all of the benefits of recycling.

It appears to be working. Today, more than ever before, Americans are getting into the habit of recycling. In 2006, the EPA reported that every American generated approximately 4.6 pounds of waste daily but recycled about a third of it (roughly 1.5 pounds). While this is definitely a step in the right direction, there is still much, much more that needs to be done to undo the abuse that has been done to the planet over the past century or so.

America Recycles Day emphasized the many benefits of recycling. Recycling can have a huge positive impact on natural resource conservation, and it also reduces the dangerous excessive greenhouse gases that are the root cause of global warming. According to an EPA report, recycling one ton of aluminum cans saves roughly the energy equivalent of around 36 barrels of oil. That’s 1,655 gallons of gasoline!

While a whole ton of aluminum cans is a great deal and most likely more than any one person can save, don’t underestimate the little things. Recycling just one single aluminum can conserves about the same amount of energy that it takes to power a television for around three hours. However, every three months, careless Americans discard enough aluminum cans into landfills to rebuild the United States’ entire fleet of commercial planes, according to research done by the National Recycling Coalition. Using recycled glass uses 40% less energy than using new materials. Another way Americans can contribute to the recycling effort is to make a conscious effort to buy products with the recyclable logo on it.

It gets even better. The practice of recycling also helps to reduce the cost of doing business. It also creates jobs. The American recycling/re-use industry is a $200 billion industry that employs over 1 million people and is comprised of over 50,000 different recycling and re-use facilities. The annual payroll of the recycling industry is estimated to be somewhere in the ballpark of $37 billion.