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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Although all three R’s are the basic fundamentals of improving and sustaining our environmental, we stress Recycling as the leading program having the potential to impact our society. Recycling is the key component of modern waste reduction and the driving force behind recent legislative laws.
Why Recycle? Recycling is an important way for individuals, businesses, and communities to invest in their future by saving money, time, and their environment. Reducing waste means conserving our landfills capacity and deterring the negative impact on the environment.
Paper, by definition, is a complex matted web of cellulose fibers. Genuine parchment, authentic vellum, or papyrus are not true papers by this definition. Making a paper requires nearly 3700 pounds of wood over 200 pounds of lime, 360 pounds of soda ash, and 24,000 gallons of water. Making paper from raw materials we need to dispose of 84 pounds of air pollution, 36 pounds of water pollutants and 176 pounds of solid waste. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees and 3000 gallons of water.
E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their "useful life." Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. With the passage of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, certain portions of the electronic waste stream are defined and the systems to recover and recycle them will be administratively regulated beyond the universal waste rules that apply to material handling.
In 2006, Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each, but only recycled an average of 23 percent. That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills. According to the Beverage Marketing Corp, the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water in 1976. In 2006 that number jumped to 28.3 gallons. It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s supply of bottled water. That’s enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars. Eight out of 10 plastic water bottles become landfill waste. In 2007 we spent $16 billion on bottled water. That’s more than we spent on iPods or movie tickets.
Over 50 percent of the aluminum cans produced are recycled. A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest! Every minute of every day, an average of 113,204 aluminum cans are recycled. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours. Last year 54 billion cans were recycled saving energy equivalent to 15 million barrels of crude oil: America’s entire gas consumption for one day.