Recycling also helps create well-paying jobs in the United States. The Southeast Recycling Development Council determined in 2010 that over 200 key Southeastern manufacturers look to recycled feedstock to develop new consumer goods. These manufacturers collectively support more than 47,525 employees and see a sales volume towering more than $29.4 billion. In Georgia alone, over 120 businesses use recycled content in manufacturing new products. When communities invest in local recycling collection programs, they support local and regional manufacturers who depend on recycled materials to make new consumer goods and help contribute to our economy.
“When we reduce, reuse, and recycle materials, we are ensuring a strong economic and environmental future” said Stan Meiburg, Acting Regional Administrator for the Region 4 of the Environmental Protection Agency. “A sustainable approach to managing materials ensures a better future for generations to come.”
EPA also estimates 35- 45% of the 250 million tons of municipal waste is generated at the workplace. This is a great opportunity for increasing recycling. The Georgia Recycling Coalition is promoting the new Keep America Beautiful initiative: Recycling at Work (www.recyclingatwork.org). The program is designed to increase recycling in the workplace by asking these entities to pledge to strive for a 10% increase over two years for recycling beverage containers, paper and cardboard, electronics and other recyclable materials generated in the workplace through a variety of actions. An array of resources and incentives are provided to those who take the pledge and participate.
"Atlanta has embraced America Recycles Day, today and every day,” said Abbey Patterson, Atlanta Recycles Executive Director. “With the City's aggressive recycling goals, Atlanta Recycles has developed a toolbox to help citizens and businesses alike to recycle where they live, work and play. Information about starting a program or enhancing a recycling program at your home, work or dining venue can be found at www.AtlantaRecycles.com."
Recycling conserves natural resources and prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new materials. This helps save energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Americans create 250 million tons of trash a year, recycling 34 percent of it. A large portion of the country’s trash that ends up in landfills can be recycled or composted. Our recycling and composting efforts in 2011 saved enough energy to power 10 million households for a year, and eliminated the equivalent of the annual emissions of 34 million passenger vehicles on our roads.
Recycling items such as cans, bottles, and paper are just the first step to making a difference. This America Recycles Day, consider getting involved in your community to help make an impact on the environment and those around you. Holding an electronics recycling drive, starting a free community tool-shed to share tools, or donating wholesome food and unwanted items to those in need are just some ways you can give back to your community while preventing precious materials from ending up in a landfill.
For ideas on what you can do: www.epa.gov/waste/wycd
For more information on reducing, reusing, and recycling: www.epa.gov/recycle
Find or hold an America Recycles Day event near you: www.americarecyclesday.org
Connect with EPA Region 4 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/eparegion4
And on Twitter: @USEPASoutheast