Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
by Beth Harvey (PMA)
Recycling by the Numbers
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans produce about 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day.
- Of that, 34.3 percent is recycled or composted.
- As a whole, the U.S. generates 254 million tons of trash each year and recycles or composts 87 million tons.
- More than 80 percent of this waste is composed of paper, garbage, yard trimmings, plastics, glass and metals. These materials can be recycled easily.
EPA Waste Reduction Hierarchy
- First, reduce what you can.
- If you can’t reduce, then reuse.
- If you can’t reuse it, then recycle or compost.
- The remaining material is either burned for energy recovery or disposed of in a landfill.
How Can I Reduce?
- Buy less food and paper products.
- Produce less mulch, grass and leaves, and compost organic waste like fruits and veggies.
- Use less water, energy and gasoline.
Top 5 Tips to Reuse
- Before you throw something away, look for another use.
- Try reusable instead of disposable products. (e.g., rechargeable batteries, cloth towels instead of paper, etc.)
- Create new uses for discarded items.
- Donate clothes, furniture and household items.
- Buy and sell used items at garage sales, flea markets and antique stores.
Benefits of Recycling
- Less energy is used to make items from existing materials rather than raw materials.
- Recycling saves trees and preserves natural resources and wildlife habitats.
- Recycling produces less water and air pollution.
- It preserves our land by reducing the waste sent to landfills.
- It helps the economy by supporting the growing recycling industry.
How to Get Started
Contact your waste hauler or your village for information on containers and guidelines for your town.[Source: U.S. EPA, Advancing Sustainable Materials Management, 2013 Fact Sheet, June 2015]