America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful Initiative dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling, was earlier this week. The day encourages all of us to consider the use of recycled products, and highlights how we can to be more mindful of what we consume.
Only 12.5% of electronics waste is currently recycled. While electronic waste only represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, it’s 70% of the overall toxic waste. Cell phones and other electronics contain precious metals, like gold and silver. Americans dump over $60 million worth of electronic waste each year from phones alone.
Here’s how to recycle e-waste:
1. Visit Call2Recycle to find out where to recycle your old cell phone or batteries. By entering your city and state, you will get a list of the closest locations for dropping off your unwanted items.
2. Call your local municipality. They likely will have tips and instructions for recycling e-waste so be sure to investigate before tossing your electronics in your trash.
On the Keep America beautiful website, you can also find local recycling information by simply searching your zip code. Results include street recycling information and guidelines, collection schedules, and drop-off sites for specific materials.
Recycling provides numerous long-term benefits, including saving energy and resources, reducing landfills, preventing pollution, creating jobs, and giving ‘garbage’ a new purpose. Keep America Beautiful makes recycling different items easy through the I want to be Recycled program. On the program’s website, you can select the drop-down menu for detailed information on different materials. It will tell you what items can be recycled, how to recycle them, and what the material can be recycled to create.
Here are six additional items and statistics about the most easily recycled materials:
Paper makes up 40% of waste dumped in landfills.
Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a12-foot high wall from Seattle to New York.
For every ton of paper produced, 380 gallons of oil is used.
Over 87% of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.
Every hour, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles.
Over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled.
Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year.
The average time a plastic bag is used … 12 seconds.
Almost half the food in the U.S. goes to waste.
All of the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in Europe and the U.S.
25% of the world’s fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten.
Reducing food waste is the number one solution to the climate crisis.
Aluminum is the most easily recycled item.
Every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum cans in the landfills to rebuild our nation’s entire commercial air fleet.
Making beverage cans from recycled aluminum cans cuts air pollution by about 95%.
Glass can be recycled an infinite amount of times and never wears out.
Over a tone of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled.
More than 28 billion glass bottles and jars end up in landfills every year.
About 80% of products sold in the US are packaged in cardboard.
American families throw away more than 9,000 pieces of cardboard every year.
Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil.
Nearly 80% of all retailers and grocers recycle their cardboard.
By Garrett Seymour, Communications Intern