Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Topics-Recycling

Do you recycle at your home? Why or why not?

For as long as I can remember I have recycled in one form or another.  As a child, we always recycled cans.  Just aluminum.  Good thing, because my parents went through a lion's share of Coca-Cola and Bud Light.  I suppose they needed all the refined sugar and alcohol to raise us 4 unruly children...ok, just 3 unruly children-- my brother really is an angel.

When I went to college, I refused to drink the water (no I didn't go to school in Mexico).  Each week I would bring home my dozens of plastic water bottles and refill them.  These were pre-BPA days.  This I suppose was one way of recycling: i.e. reusing.

After college I moved to Wisconsin and recycling was a way of life at YMCA Camp Edwards.  I even taught a recycling class periodically at the camp.  Teaching 3rd and 4th graders the importance of saving our planet is actually very easy.  Children have an intense passion for animals and mother nature.  As adults, we tend to forget these passions because the appreciation of convenience takes hold. 

Teaching recycling at the camp taught me a few things about taking care of our environment.  I understand the logic of not collecting trash in dumps...if for no other reason than aesthetics.  But there are so many awesome facts about recycling I would like to share with you.
  • Americans alone throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. Plastics are a major source of environmental pollution and are easy to be recycle.
  • On an average, one person uses up two pine trees worth of paper each year.
  • To produce one ton of paper, 390 gallons of oil is used up.
  • For every ton of glass recycled, one ton of resources used to make it is saved.
  • Energy saved from recycling one ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.
  • Americans throw out enough iron and steel to supply all the nation’s automakers on a continuous basis.
  • Glass never wears out -- it can be recycled forever.
  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.
  • Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles every year.
  • $1 out of every $11 Americans spend for food goes for packaging.
  • Americans dump the equivalent of more than 21 million shopping bags full of food into landfills every year.  (source)
These are just the fun facts.  Here is the bigger picture, recycling will:
Conserve natural resources
Reduce global warming
Keep our landfills from overflowing
Improve the quality of our groundwater
Reduce air pollution
Prevent water pollution
Save energy (source)

I know, recycling is sometimes like exercising...we all know we should do it, but we just don't as often as we should.  Living in Mooresville, NC makes it extremely difficult.  The city doesn't provide a curbside recycling service. We have to take it to the transfer station.  Mr. Kummerow takes care of that most of the time, so I can't complain.  But you know, there are days I will throw away a piece of paper just because I don't want to sort it, or walk out to the garage to put it in the bin.  Wow! I feel so convicted right now, confessing that while I tell my readers why they should recycle.  

On the other hand, Mr. K and I rarely have to put our trash bin out on the street for pick up.  Every week our neighbors wheel their bins out to the bottom of their driveways.  We watch them, remember that we should do the same, then realize there is only one bag in the bin.   Between recycling, reusing (I quit throwing away any glass jars) and composting, we have saved quite a bit of trash this summer!  And that is a fact I am proud of! 

To make recycling easier for those in the Mooresville area, Think Green Recycle Service picks up curbside and delivers your recycling to a transfer station for you!  I have heard their rates are very reasonable ($6 or $12 per month) and that you don't even separate your recycling.  They even recycle green glass (Mooresville doesn't!) I believe I will be calling Think Green today to make recycling much easier for us! And I swear this is not a paid advertisement!

Tell me how you and your family have incorporated recycling into your lives?

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