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Celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15

Recycling conserves resources, saves energy and helps reduce global warming

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Recycling Bins, Newspaper, Plastic, Going Green
Paul Burns/Photodisc/Getty Images
America Recycles Day (ARD), celebrated on November 15 every year, is dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.

The purpose of America Recycles Day is to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling and to encourage more people to join the movement to create a better natural environment.

America Recycles Day Events and Education
Since the first America Recycles Day in 1997, ARD has helped millions of Americans become better informed about the importance of recycling and buying products made from recycled materials.

Through America Recycles Day, the National Recycling Coalition helps volunteer coordinators organize events in hundreds of communities nationwide to raise awareness and educate people about the benefits of recycling.

And it’s working. Americans today are recycling more than ever.

In 2006, according to the EPA, every American generated about 4.6 pounds of waste daily and recycled approximately one third of it (roughly 1.5 pounds).

The rate of composting and recycling in the United States rose from 7.7 percent of the waste stream in 1960 to 17 percent in 1990. Today, Americans recycle around 33 percent of their waste.

In 2007, the amount of energy saved from recycling aluminum and steel cans, plastic PET and glass containers, newsprint and corrugated packaging was equivalent to:

  • The amount of electricity consumed by 17.8 million Americans in one year.
  • 29 percent of nuclear electricity generation in the U.S. in one year.
  • 7.9 percent of U.S. electricity generation from fossil fuels in one year.
  • 11 percent of the energy produced by coal-fired power plants in the United States
  • The energy supplied from 2.7 percent of imported barrels of crude oil into the United States
  • The amount of gasoline used in almost 11 million passenger automobiles in one year.
Despite that progress, however, much more needs to be done because the stakes are very high.

America Recycles Day Highlights the Benefits of Recycling
Recycling helps to conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. According to the EPA, recycling one ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline.

Saving Energy on America Recycles Day
If a ton of cans is a little too much to visualize, consider this: recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours. Yet, every three months, Americans toss enough aluminum into landfills to rebuild the entire U.S. fleet of commercial airplanes, according to the National Recycling Coalition.

Using recycled materials also saves energy and reduces global warming. For example, using recycled glass consumes 40 percent less energy than using new materials. Americans also contribute to recycling by purchasing products with recycled content, less packaging and fewer harmful materials.

Learn How Recycling Helps the Economy on America Recycles Day
Recycling also reduces costs to businesses and creates jobs. The American recycling and reuse industry is a $200 billion dollar enterprise that includes more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments, employs more than 1 million people, and generates an annual payroll of approximately $37 billion.

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