New Year’s Resolution

By Wendy Dew

Do you recycle? I used to. I live in a very rural area where we have no true recycling centers. My husband and I used to pile the recycling up in the garage and then once a month drive one hour to a recycling collection spot. The bins were almost always full when we got there. We would have a truck full of recycling with nowhere to go! So we gave up and stopped recycling about a year ago. Every time I throw something in the trash I know can be recycled, I feel horrible.

So, my New Year’s Resolution this year is to figure out what new opportunities there might be for me to start recycling again – likely on a smaller scale!

Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Collecting used bottles, cans, and newspapers and taking them to the curb or to a collection facility is just the first in a series of steps that generates a host of financial, environmental, and social returns. Some of these benefits accrue locally as well as globally.

Benefits of Recycling

  • Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases U.S. competitiveness.
  • Recycling reduces the need for landfilling and incineration.
  • Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials.
  • Recycling saves energy.
  • Recycling decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
  • Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.
  • Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations.

For many communities recycling is as easy as putting out the trash. For others, like my community, it is a challenge. I believe recycling will become easier for all communities in the not too distant future. But until then, I will continue to find ways to recycle what I can. I encourage folks of all ages to do the same!

About the author: Wendy Dew has been with EPA for 14 years and is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Region 8 in Denver, Colorado.

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