Recycling is the third and most recognizable of the “Three Rs”–Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. By recycling and buying recycled-content products, every Californian can make a vital contribution to preserving our environment. Here are five good reasons to recycle:
- It’s easy. Recycling in the home, school, and workplace can be easy and convenient. Most California communities have curbside recycling programs for paper, cardboard, plastic, bottles, cans, and other materials. Check with your local waste hauler or public works department to find out what can go into your curbside bin. Californians already divert from landfills about 65 percent of their trash–nearly double the national average–through recycling and reuse programs. Back in July 2012, recycling programs expanded to include most California businesses and multifamily housing, too. Ongoing or one-day community recycling events allow for proper disposal of items prohibited from landfills, including computers, TVs, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, paint, used household hazardous waste products such as paint, and cell phones. Televisions, computer monitors, and other electronic waste that is no longer working and can’t be fixed can be taken to recycling centers–visit our e-waste webpage to locate one near you. For do-it-yourself mechanics, used motor oil can be taken to a local used oil recycling center. There are recycling opportunities everywhere that are easy and convenient!
- It saves money. The first step to saving money is to shop smart: Buy recycled products when possible, and consider product packaging. Recycling can also put money in your pocket! Many beverage containers made of plastic, glass, and aluminum are redeemable for California Refund Value (CRV), which is 5 cents for containers less than 24 ounces and 10 cents for containers 24 ounces or larger. CalRecycle has a searchable database to help you find nearby beverage container buyback centers.
- It creates jobs. Recycling is big business in California. It is a mainstream industry of statewide importance accounting for approximately 85,000 jobs and producing $10 billion in products and services per year. It is equivalent in size to the motion picture industry in California.
- It saves energy. It takes 95 percent less energy to make an aluminum can out of recycled aluminum than out of raw virgin materials. Making glass from recycled material allows manufacturers to run their furnaces at lower temperatures, also saving energy.
- It preserves natural resources. Reducing, reusing, and recycling cuts down on the amount of raw material needed to create new products, lessening the overall impact on natural resources. And by sending less material to landfills, Americans can put a dent in the amount of trash we produce each day: enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome top to bottom, twice a day.
by Beth Rowen
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours
- Recycling one glass bottle or jar saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours
- Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000–2,000 gallons of gasoline
- More than 30 million trees are cut down to produce a year’s supply of newspapers
- A ton of paper made from recycled paper saves:
- 7,000 gallons of water
- Between 17 and 31 trees
- 60 pounds of air pollutants
- Recycling a pound of steel saves enough energy to light a 60-watt light bulb for 26 hours.
- Americans recycle only 5% of all the plastics produced in this country.
- Americans use 100 million steel cans and 200 million aluminum beverage cans every day.
- One drip per second from a faucet wastes 540 gallons of water a year.
- It takes between 400 and 500 years for a Styrofoam cup to decompose. It takes an orange peel six months to decompose.
- Using recycled glass uses 40% less energy than making products from all new materials.
- Today, almost 22% of the glass produced in the United States is recycled.
A very cool website to learn about recycling and the whole process of recycling: