Fun Facts about Recycling

Since this week was the thirteenth anniversary of America Recycles Day, I wanted to remind you that there is a funny side to the whole recycling and e-waste discussion. For example,  did you know all the valuables you could take out of one million recycled cell phones?

How about: 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,000 pounds of copper! Maybe recycling cell phones could pay for itself – that’s a lot of precious metals…

The federal government has only just started to get involved in electronic waste recycling; most initiatives until now have been on the state level. But some corporations have committed themselves to this effort. HP is one such company.  To date, HP has made one billion ink cartridges out of recycled plastics they collected from their printing and imaging supplies.  The company estimates that their recycling of 160 million ink cartridges and 1.3 billion plastic water bottles – instead of using non-recycled plastic for their products – was the equivalent of taking 3,000 cars off the road for a year!
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There is a lesson to be learned here: The more we, as individuals, recycle on  our own, and support the companies who recycle on a large scale, the greater impact we can have on keeping our planet green.

America Recycles Day

Did you know that this week, on November 15th, the country held America Recycles Day?
This day was declared by Keep America Beautiful in 1997 to highlight the critical need for both homes and businesses to recycle. This year’s theme was “I Recycle” – and I encourage you to take the pledge! In honor of this important day, lots of companies and organizations held “Going Green” festivities to encourage people to get more serious about recycling.

The truth is: Recycling is pretty easy. Like everything else it’s a habit, and once you get into it, you’ll never throw a coke bottle into the garbage again. Most university campuses are pretty committed to recycling, which is a good thing, considering how much paper comes out of the printer and how many bottles of drink college students consume! In honor of America Recycles Day, this is the time to check out what kind of recycling programs your college has.

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For inspiration, did you know that the Recycling & Refuse Department at Ohio University participates in the annual RecycleMania national competition, sponosrs the Trash Dance held during RecycleMania, and ensures that recycling is available at campus events? On the Univesrity of California @Davis campus, there is a zero waste coordinator for campus events. The University of Minnesota has developed the SMART (Self Managed Activities for Recyclables and Trash) system which has resulted in a significant increase in recycling on campus, while the University of Michigan provides lots of information on their site to guide both students and college staff in how to most efficiently recycle the waste that results from students moving in and out of campus. Humboldt State University used their years of experience – they’ve had a campus waste reduction program since 1987 – to create a guide called “Recycling and Beyond: A Model for Campus Communities.” You can access the link on the college website.

So, if your college campus is not recycling enough – take the initiative to improve and increase recycling at your university. Check out the websites of these colleges and follow their good example.