Sustainability Action Agenda: Rethink Waste

Oct 1, 2013 - 9:34 am

In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.  In fact, the average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day!

Over 75% of waste is recyclable.  Recycling keeps reusable items out of landfills, which saves natural resources and energy, while reducing the amount of methane and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.  Best of all – by recycling as much as possible, you can downsize to a smaller trash cart, which will lower your monthly bill.

Want to recycle right?  Here are some tips to get you started:image of Recycle collection on 6th Street

1. Recycle – or better yet, refill.  Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every HOUR.  Recycle those bottles – or better yet, use a refillable one instead.  And don’t throw away the bottle caps – recycle them!
2. Remember that half is better than none.  Although you can’t recycle your whole pizza box, you can tear off the top half and recycle it as long as it’s grease-free.
3. No more junk mail!  Reduce clutter, protect your privacy and help the environment by opting out of unwanted mail.  Get started for free at CatalogChoice.org.
4. Keep a bag for recycling in your car, so you can “recycle right” on the go.
5. Recycling: it’s not just in the kitchen.  Don’t trash your empty shampoo bottles and toilet paper rolls just because they’re in the bathroom.
6. Take unwanted books, CD’s, and DVD’s to Recycled Reads. Get crafty by signing up for an Upcycled Workshop to learn how to make beautiful and useful items from recycled materials.
7. Recycle your aluminum.  Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod – recycling 100 could light your bedroom for two whole weeks.  Whether it’s foil or cans, recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to make cans from new material.
8. Recycle your wireless phone.  We replace 100 million of them each year according to the U.S. EPA.  Donate your out-of-use cell phone to a local charity or find a drop-off facility near you (AmericaRecyclesDay.org/find-recycling).
9. Don’t exclude your food – enrich your soil instead.  We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year, which if composted would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.  Learn how to compost!
10. Buy products made from recycled materials.  Recycling is just the first step in the cycle – close the loop by keeping recycled-content products in demand.

Please visit http://austintexas.gov/department/single-stream-recycling to make certain you’re recycling right.

Share