Celebrate Recycling Day Today and Every Day

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It seems only fitting that the sole nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling in the United States falls in between Halloween and Thanksgiving, two holidays known for creating an excess amount of waste and having an adverse impact on the environment. Each year on November 15, millions of people across the United States take part in America Recycles Day, a day which was created to raise awareness about recycling and the purchasing of recycled products. Though the national recycling rate has increased over the past 30 years to 34% of all waste disposal being recycled, there is still much work to be done.

Created by the National Recycling Coalition in 1997 as a way to educate people about the importance of recycling for both the environment and the economy, America Recycles Day has grown into a nationwide phenomenon. On this day, thousands of events are held in cities across the United States to call attention to the importance of recycling and encourage individuals to sign the pledge, confirming a commitment to recycling and buying products made from recycled materials, with the hope that occasional recyclers will make it an everyday habit.

Luckily, there are countless ways for residents right here in the St. Louis region to take action in the fight for cleaner air by committing to reduce, reuse and recycle on America Recycles Day and in all aspects of daily life. 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. Avoiding disposable items such as paper plates, cups, and utensils is a step in the right direction for cleaner air, as well as bringing your own reusable tote bags to the store to purchase groceries.

When presenting gifts during the next wave of holidays that are just around the corner, consider gifting experiences instead of things. And when you are gifting a physical item, consider opting for newspapers, old posters or reusable gift bags instead of wrapping paper. If you choose to buy gift wrap, look for recycled content gift wrap paper whenever you can find it.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 60% of the waste that ends up in trash bins can be recycled. While cardboard, paper, food boxes, mail, beverage cans, plastic bottles and caps are among the most common items that you can put into the curbside recycling bin, what you can recycle depends on the recycling company serving your area. Be sure to check with your local recycling center to find out what you can and cannot recycle and make sure that you have the correct disposal containers available to ensure your efforts are being put to good use and heading to the recycling center, rather than the landfill you’re working so hard to avoid.

You can do your share for cleaner air and live a recycled lifestyle by taking the #BeRecycled pledge at www.americarecyclesday.org. The more material that gets properly recycled, the less that goes into landfills, ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions for cleaner air. For more great tips on how to achieve cleaner air year-round, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.