America Recycles Day is right around the corner and particularly worth celebrating this year because, even during a global pandemic, recycling is one of the easiest ways to help the planet and improve air quality. Now in its 23rd year, the annual celebration held on November 15 is dedicated to educating people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental well-being, as well as helping motivate occasional recyclers to make it an everyday habit and commit to purchasing recycled products.
While Americans have drastically improved the recycling recovery rate over the last 30+ years to 34%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is still much work to be done. Thankfully, there are several ways for residents right here in the St. Louis region to take action for cleaner air by committing to reduce, reuse and recycle on America Recycles Day and in all aspects of daily life. Here are some helpful tips to consider for incorporating green into your day-to-day routine:
- Stay informed about recycling services in your community – Understanding what can be recycled in your area is key to ensuring that anything you sort and place in your recycling container with the intention of it being sent to your local recycling center actually makes it there. It’s also important to identify the wide range of materials that can be recycled through your curbside recycling program. These consist of obvious materials such as paper, plastic and glass, as well as less obvious materials, including most forms of metal and even food waste.
- Repurpose and reuse old items – In the general consumption of goods, we oftentimes ignore the fact that a major portion of our waste can be reduced or reused before resorting to recycling. Shopping at or donating to secondhand stores are great ways to prevent unwanted items from ending up in the landfill, reduce wastage of energy and resources on the production of new clothes and help save you money. With the holidays coming up, gifting used items from a secondhand shop or using recyclable materials around the house like old fabric, maps, newspapers or magazines for gift wrap are also easy ways to significantly reduce waste.
- Ditch the plastic bottles – At this very minute, people around the world are buying a million plastic bottles, and most of these bottles will end up in landfills or in the ocean. Not only does the production of plastic water bottles contribute substantial amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, their litter lingers for years on end. Instead of buying single-use bottles, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle you can take with you and refill as needed to cut down on unnecessary waste and help improve air quality. If you still prefer a single-use water bottle, make sure it gets properly recycled once you’re finished with it.
Do your share for cleaner air and start your journey to a recycled lifestyle today by taking the #BeRecycled pledge at www.americarecyclesday.org. For more great tips on how to reduce environmental impact and achieve cleaner air year-round, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.