November 15, 2013
9:32 am EDT
Some of you may not know this, but before focusing on music, award-winning artist Jack Johnson was a professional surfer. He credits his Hawaiian upbringing and connecting with nature as motivations for why he teaches kids about sustainability, whether he’s on tour or just at home. And it’s why he’s joining me to commemorate America Recycles Day this year.
Through the work of the Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Jack serves his community through supporting waste reduction, recycling, and other sustainable practices at local schools. He believes teaching kids the source of the products they use and the food they eat strengthens their connection with nature, improves their overall health, and teaches them to use energy more efficiently.
And while on tour, Jack and his crew, along with other musical artists, are reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and educating their fans—helping to clean up beaches, parks and venues, and ensure a clean and healthy environment for us all.
My own appreciation for the outdoors started with hiking, camping, and canoeing at a young age growing up in upstate New York – all activities I continue today. And it’s that love for the environment that guides me, Administrator Gina McCarthy, and the rest of our EPA team, to recognize sustainability as a powerful tool to meet EPA’s mission of protecting public health and the environment—and a critical part of President Obama’s National Climate Action Plan.
Here’s why Jack and I know recycling matters. A typical American produces more than four pounds of trash each day—some of which, like old computers and cell phones, can damage our health and harm our environment if not recycled properly. In 2011, Americans produced 250 million tons of trash, but only about 35% of it was recycled.
Through reducing, reusing, and recycling, we can clear our landfills, reduce pollution, save energy, and preserve precious natural resources. Recycling also puts Americans back to work—directly through the recycling process, and indirectly through clean energy manufacturing—driving us towards a cleaner, greener, more sustainable economy.
Any amount of recycling makes a difference, and clearly, there’s more we can do—and plenty of ways for Americans to get involved and serve their communities. The great thing about service through recycling is that anyone can do it!
Click here to discover more ideas on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle at home, at work, and around your community. And join Jack and me by Tweeting a photo using #WeRecycle or posting to Instagram.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle is easy to remember—and easy to do in simple ways in our homes, offices, schools, and communities.
So join us on America Recycles Day as we appreciate the outdoors and our natural wonders, and commemorate a national tradition of service for a more sustainable future.
Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.