November 15: America Recycles Day

It amazes me how much paper my boys bring home from school. I know our teachers have no control over the number of worksheets and art projects our children are assigned to do. Every day I go through their papers and divide them into two stacks. For recycling now, and for continued use.

Continued use? What does that mean? It means that paper that has only been used on one side goes into a special stack that is used in our printers, for scratch paper, for drawing, taking home spelling tests, writing Christmas and birthday lists, cutting, taping and gluing together, etc. This paper has been used twice before it even goes into the recycling box.

Today is America Recycles Day. It’s easier than ever to recycle common household items. Our trash service offers curbside recycling and we don’t even have to separate the recycling goods.

What about clothing or textiles? If it’s gently used, consider donating to a thrift shop. The Kansas Human Society lists towels, blankets and washcloths on their wish list. Old jeans? If you are crafty, Wise Bread offers a list of 25 things to do with old jeans.

If you have kids, you probably have old tennis shoes not suitable for donating. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program recycles old shoes into flooring for playground areas, indoor courts, running tracks and more. Unfortunately, the closest drop off location to me is in Kansas City. You can mail your shoes to Nike directly. Details are here.

Make a commitment to recycle just a little more every year. Help keep America beautiful!

Related:
2009: America Recycles Day

Water :: Blog Action Day 2010

Today is blog action day, a day when bloggers from around the world write about the same subject. This year’s topic is water.

There are a lot of different angles to write about with water. Clean drinking water. Efforts to keep rivers and lakes free of trash and debris. Your water footprint.

I’m gong to stick with something I know. Plastic water bottles.

I’m not going to preach about how plastic bottles are bad, because there are some instances when I still use them. But over the past several years, our family has reduced the number of one-time use plastic water bottles. We make an effort to use reusable, recyclable water bottles.

I use aluminum water bottles like this for sports drinks:

And these reusable bottles for lunch boxes:

It’s not a lot, but it’s something. And every bit counts.

According to Earth911.org, American use 28 billion plastic water bottles per year. Another statistics states the average US person drinks 200 bottles per year, 86% which are not recycled.

Some cities are taking action by reducing their spending on bottled water. A city in Maryland even banned the sale of bottled water.

It’s unrealistic to pledge to eliminate plastic water bottles altogether. But by making a conscious effort to use reusable bottles when is appropriate and convenient, and recycling all others, you really can make a difference.

America Recycles Day

America Recycles DayDid you know glass can be recycled an infinite number of times? Or that every three months, U.SĀ  landfills have enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet? And that Americans throw away enough office paper to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from Seattle to NY?
~ National Recycling Coalition

The National Recycling Coalition has designated tomorrow, November 15, as America Recycles Day, a day to encourage Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. The purpose is to continue to promote the social, environmental and economic value of recycling. The website has lots of great information, ideas and tools.

Check out the cool Conversionator, a nifty tool to determine how much your efforts are helping the planet (it’s fun for kids too). Based on my estimations, our household recycling:

  • saves eight trees per year
  • generates enough electricity to watch TV for 30 hours
  • lights one energy-saving light bulb for three days

And those estimates are conservative.

Here’s another way to look at it. Our local trash service partners with RecycleBank and awards points to those who recycle, based on weight. In six months, our recycling weighs as much as a Vespa 2008 Granturismo motorcycle.

The website also lists recycling events around the United States in conjunction with America Recycles Day. There are six Kansas events, one each in Great Bend, Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita. These communities are leading the way, promoting eco-friendly ways we can all be green, and demonstrating their commitment to our planet.

Need some inspiration? The website lists great ideas for companies, schools, organizations and governments:

  • Business: Buy reusable mugs or cups for employees to use instead of disposable cups.
  • Schools: Integrate information that is related to recycling into all subjects, such as math, chemistry, biology, and speech. (Example: Calculate the number of sheets of paper that equals one ton.)
  • Associations/civic organizations: When possible, fold and staple your mail, instead of using envelopes.
  • Governments: Have a paperless office day by encouraging staff to use e-mail and edit documents on-line.

If you already recycle, thank you for doing your part. But I bet you can do more! Replace just one product with a recyclable product. Or use cheap wash cloths instead of a paper towel (better yet, cut up old towels and use the scraps). Shop at a resale store. Use both sides of your printer paper. The options are endless…and the payoff? Huge.

My family knows the value of recycling, and we actively participate every day. Do you?

One Kansas Girl related posts:
October 27, 2009: Blog Action Day :: Climate Change
August 9, 2008: Clean and Green