America Recycles Day is celebrated annually on November 15, promoting the importance of recycling across the United States. Recycling gives products a new life and prevents waste and toxic chemicals from getting into our waterways, soil, and even our own bodies.
Recycling falls last in the five Rs of waste management: refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle. Although recycling can be a challenge in our nation, it benefits our communities, the economy, and the environment.
Save energy; create jobs
Recycling saves energy and conserves natural resources. According to Stanford University, manufacturing products with recycled items is cleaner and less energy-intensive than starting from scratch. For example, manufacturing with recycled aluminum cans uses 95% less energy than creating the same amount of new aluminum.
Recycling also provides security for the economy! This line of work offers jobs, wages, and environmental protection for our community members. The Recycling Economic Information (REI) Report found that, in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for 757,000 jobs, $36.6 billion in wages, and $6.7 billion in tax revenues.
Prevent landfill pollution
Did you know that landfills are not designed to break down and decompose materials? Waste is tightly compacted and typically sealed in plastic bags and then buried in the earth. When these materials break down slower, they release methane, which is more than 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This methane can be regularly produced for hundreds of years until the waste is finally broken down, and it’s the primary contributor to global warming.
As landfills break down, they also produce leachate, a liquid that’s pumped out of landfills and treated as hazardous waste. Leachate often seeps into the ground and can flow into our waterways. Studies have also found the presence of microplastics in leachate, which ends up in our food and water.
It’s important to recycle right
Check with your local recycling programs to see what waste is accepted. Most municipalities only accept a limited amount of waste streams such as paper, cardboard, glass, and aluminum.
Look out for the numbered symbols on the bottom of plastic containers. These symbols identify the type of plastic the container is made from. Unfortunately, out of seven types of plastics, many towns only accept types one and two. It’s not that these waste streams aren’t recyclable, but the recycling processor can’t make a profit for the other plastics.
TerraCycle recycles the unrecyclable
Unlike traditional municipal recyclers, TerraCycle focuses on a wide range of waste streams that are typically not locally recyclable. We offer a variety of free national recycling programs and our Zero Waste Boxes for purchase, allowing you to recycle nearly every type of waste. Check out our educational series for more questions on how TerraCycle recycles.
Our national recycling programs are funded by some of your favorite brands, manufacturers, and retailers worldwide to help you collect and recycle hard-to-recycle waste. Choose from over 200 programs and start collecting in your home, school, or office. When you’re done collecting, download our free shipping labels and send us your waste to be recycled. You can even earn rewards for your school or favorite nonprofit!
The Zero Waste Box™ is the world’s first all-in-one system allowing anyone to recycle anything. All you have to do is purchase the Zero Waste Box for what you’d like to recycle, fill the box, and send it back to TerraCycle when you’re ready. We take care of the rest!
Celebrate America Recycles Day by pledging to start or continue your recycling journey with us. Join us on Eliminating the Idea of Waste ® today and every day.