Today is America Recycles Day. Yeah, I just found that out this morning, too. And surprise, surprise, Americans don’t recycle enough. A recent Staples survey found that only 23 percent of respondents recycle their old electronics, while 41 percent either throw them in the trash or don’t get rid of them at all. (What about the other 36 percent?) I definitely fall in that latter category and I blame my parents for that one; they have a television graveyard in their attic with every TV they’ve owned since 1978.
Staples and other likeminded companies are aiming to change those bad environmental habits. An article from Environment News Service outlines recycling initiatives by Staples, Office Depot and Xerox to keep us from tossing electronics and other office products filled with hazardous chemicals. However, I’m a little skeptical that people will be willing to pay to recycle, even if it is just $10, when throwing the item away is so much easier.
Not to be a downer, but I came across a somewhat disheartening article in The Scotsman about the fate of recycled plastic bottles. Basically the bottles get shipped off to China where they get turned into cheap plastic toys which are then shipped back. While this article is specific to the U.K., it doesn’t make it any better. It also further reinforces the point about carrying a reusable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
On a more positive note, the National Recycling Coalition website for America Recycles Day is worth checking out. The site details how recycling works and why it’s important, and lists resources for finding out about recycling in your area. I like the “conversionator,” which shows the impact individuals have by recycling. Fun fact: recycling a stack of paper three feet high saves one tree. But only if we make the effort to buy recycled paper.
In the spirit of America Recycles Day, how about we start recycling some of the eco-catchphrases that turn up in headlines everywhere and trade them in for something new? It’s time to give up “it is (or isn’t) easy being green,” “green is the new black,” and of course the ubiquitous “such and such goes green.” People will probably stop paying attention if it looks like the same story over and over again. While I may not always have the catchiest titles for these blog posts, let’s see if we can’t all spice things up a bit.