Recycling impacts many aspects of your community and the world at large. It is well known that recycling diverts waste that accumulates in landfills, saves valuable natural resources and reduces greenhouse emissions. Recycling has much farther-reaching influence that is seldom spoken of. Recycling is less expensive than traditional waste collection, incineration and land filling. The more you recycle, the more cost effective the system becomes. Cities and some large companies have reduced bills for waste removal by millions of dollars by recycling. Recycling creates jobs at a rate of four to one over trash collection. Over one million private sector jobs are directly attributable to recycling. For every job created collecting recyclable materials, 26 more are created in processing and re-manufacturing them.
Many people do not recycle, even with the overwhelming benefits that it achieves. Lack of education, access and motivation are all factors that lead to alarming statistics. Up to 70 percent of the trash that people throw away could be recycled. 50 percent of recyclable waste found in landfills is plastic drinking containers. The average American is creating over 1,600 pounds of trash annually. What can you do to motivate people to recycle in your community?
Create a committee. Find others who actively recycle to help you spread the word throughout your community. Post fliers in public libraries, grocery stores, schools and recreation centers. Go door-to-door with information about how cooperative recycling stands to impact your neighbors. Make a stall or booth at fairs and festivals. Take out a small advertisement in the local paper or community access cable channel. Connect with your local borough or municipality to coordinate efforts and even procure public recycling units in your area.
Make recycling fun. Host a shredding event to encourage paper recycling. Invite the rival football team’s community to a recycling competition, and throw a party for the victor using recycled party supplies. Set goals for recycling in your neighborhood and post the progress on an easily visible banner or sign. Use your newspaper or cable access space to recognize outstanding recyclers in the community. Connect with schools and teachers to teach children about recycling. Make a community recycling page on a networking website. Occasionally “spy” on public recycling locations and hand out stickers or candies to people you catch in the act.
Broaden your scope. Encourage neighbors to recycle items other than paper, plastics and glass. Unused books, clothing and electronics can be donated, refurbished or recycled. Electronic waste accounts for over three million tons of waste annually, and most electronics are 100 percent recyclable. Operational electronics can be refurbished and donated to schools, military families and libraries. Broken electronic parts can be sorted down into metallic, plastic and glass components and recycled to manufacture new materials. Clothing can be given to independent charities to clothe the needy, and books can be donated to educational organizations such as Book Aid. Compact disks, batteries and corks can also be recycled. Organize regular collections of odd recyclable items in advance to give neighbors the chance to collect them.
Post contributed by Holly Adams, a writer for Coupon Croc. Grab a Littlewoods discount voucher and save on the best eco-friendly appliances and green products online.