Recycle…. You just might be surprised….

TAKE ACTION: Our World, Our Home, Our Choice

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are words we have heard time and time again. We hear these terms generally during earth week, or part of the many company or school ‘go green’ campaigns. But outside of the occasional organized drive, how many homes actually consciously Reduce their usage, Reuse items, and Recycle when we are ready to dispose? Originally I steered away from this topic, as it seemed tired and too predictable, but then on more reflection it came to me that recycling can be something so easy for everyone to do, yet it is severely underutilized. Besides a few facts about recycling, along the way I found there are various sites that provide some insight into simple ways we can all get involved as well, as into a few unique recycling programs that you probably didn’t know existed.

Did You Know?

-The Average American Produces 4.4 pounds of trash a day? (EPA, 2014)

-60 Percent of our trash can be recycled…… but only 13 percent of that is actually recycled. (EPA, 2014)

What I found fascinating with my journey this week was some of the amazing information that is out available to us on the internet. There is a series found on YouTube called, “Garbage Island: An Ocean Full Plastic” (2008). A group sets sail from Long Beach, California in search to see if they can find what was thought to be what they thought could be just a myth. Looking for an enormous collection of plastic garbage called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. What they found was an ocean full of debris where plastic outweighs surface zooplankton 6 to 1. (Kostigen, 2008). “Just one chemical Bisphenol A that is used to make these hard clear plastic called polycarbonate is produced at over seven billion pounds a year and it is a non-recyclable plastic. What happening to it? It is being thrown away into the environment. The evidence from Europe, Asia, and United States is that every person examined has these chemicals in their bodies.” (Garbage Island: An Ocean of Plastic, 2008).” When the small particles from photo degraded plastic bags get into the water, they are ingested by filter feeding marine animals. Biotoxins like PCBs that are in the particles are then passed up the food chain, including up to humans.

So I ask? How much plastic in your life do you use? And how much of it do you recycle? The Clean Air Organization states “The state of California spends about 25 million dollars sending plastic bags to landfill each year, and another 8.5 million dollars to remove littered bags from streets” (Clean Air Council, 2009)

While it is apparent our society needs to take a more proactive into reducing, reusing and recycling, there are many fabulous and unique programs that exist today that help reduce our waste, and help us reuse.

Did You Know?

-Old jeans that are no longer wanted can be broken down and recycled into insulation to be used in homes through the Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program. “600+ tons of denim diverted from landfills across the U.S” (Bluejeansgogreen, 2014).

-There is a program in force that made it possible to stop more than 94,000 pounds of unwanted crayons from going into landfills. The CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM takes unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons! This company also sells recycled crayon sets to be used as kindling to warm your fire pit in the backyard or while camping. (Crazy Crayons, 2014)

-There are wedding recycle sites all over the internet. So many funds go into planning, purchasing and implementing a wedding, all items are used and discarded for a one day affair. Recycling these products has become not only become a major cost saver, but will also keep large amounts of practically used items out of our landfills. (Ruffled, 2014)

Everything we use, whether it is a spoon, computer, a pair of socks…all things we use, all the things we replace at some point or another in our lives have to go somewhere. The earth will not increase in order to support our continual trash output. Personally, I would have never even thought of the thousands of pounds of crayons that are produced daily where they end up, or that the jeans we wear are able to be broken back down to their original fibers in order to create an insulation that not only insulate for temperature but as a sound absorption as well. It gives me hope that with programs like these and the next generation of somewhat more conscious citizens emerges, the ideas continue on how to re-purpose, so we can reduce, reuse and recycle.

I appreciate this assignment. During the last few weeks in our course, some assignments although completely important, eye-opening, and full of real life, left me feeling depressed. I was seriously doubting my faith in people and really believing, we as a human race and our beautiful earth is anything but doomed for sadness and death. This assignment allowed me to not only investigate further my own interests by discovering some fabulous information, neat websites and groups on Facebook that are full of innovation and ideas , but it also showed me that people do care about our earth and doing the right thing. We have many exciting opportunities around us to get involved. Slowly our outlook is changing, and the technology that surrounds us is only increasing which opens not only new methods in recycling all sorts of items, but also increases the way people can connect, share and come together and take action.

I hope you found some information from my presentation to be just as inspiring for you as it was for me. Thank you.

Bluejeansgogreen (2014). BLUE JEANS GO GREEN™ DENIM RECYCLING. Retrieved 22 April 2014, from http://www.bluejeansgogreen.org/About-Us/

Bushnell, K. Plastic Bags: What About Recycling Them? The Sierra Club. Retrieved June 2010 from http://www.sierraclub.org/sustainable_consumption/articles/bags2.asp

Clean Air Council. (2009). Waste and Recycling Facts. Retrieved 22 April 2014, from http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html#_edn6

Crazy Crayons. (2014). Recycle Program. Retrieved 22 April 2014, from http://www.crazycrayons.com/recycle_program.html
EPA. (2014). Reduce, Reuse, Recycle | US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 22 April 2014, from http://www2.epa.gov/recycle

EPA. (2014). Municipal Solid Waste | Wastes | US EPA. Retrieved 23 April 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/
Garbage Island: An Ocean of Plastic. (2008). North Pacific Ocean. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D41rO7mL6zM

Koch, W. (2010). Getting paid to save energy, recycle? Incentives expand. USA Today. Retrieved 23 April 2014, from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/03/getting-paid-to-save-energy-recycle-incentives-expand/1#.U1cWEoWwU3A

Ruffled. (2014). Recycle Your Wedding. Retrieved 23 April 2014, from http://ruffledblog.com/community/recycle-your-wedding.html
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2009). Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2008. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008rpt.pdf

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