Thursday, July 2, 2009

Be a patriot and recycle - a special guest column for the 4th of July

Today Eco-Libris blog is happy to bring you a a special guest column of our friends at RecycleBank for the upcoming holiday. It presents you with an easy and important way to show your love for your country and not only on the 4th of July, but actually every day!

Recycling…as American as Apple Pie

What is patriotic? Fighting for one’s country is patriotic, flag-waving is patriotic, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” is patriotic. Now, let’s think outside the bin (sorry, recycling humor) to something you do everyday. That’s right. Every time you reduce, reuse and recycle you’re celebrating your love for your country.

During World War II citizens were urged to recycle (or “salvage”) metal, rubber, paper and even kitchen fat to help in the war effort. Today’s soldiers don’t need recycled steel for guns, salvaged kitchen fat for explosives or scrap paper for packaging, but recycling is still patriotic.

By recycling, we show our love for our country by protecting our nation’s resources, reducing our dependence on the resources of other countries and boosting our economy.

Here’s how:

-Recycling plastic reduces the need for virgin plastic. Of course, virgin plastic isn’t a natural resource, but the petroleum used to make it is. In fact, approximately 4% of our annual oil consumption is used to make plastics. By recycling more plastic we reduce the need for the production of virgin plastic and that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

-Manufacturing products using recycled materials instead of virgin materials requires a lot less energy. Making an aluminum can from recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy than making an aluminum can from virgin aluminum. In 2003, we reduced our oil usage by more than 15 million barrels by recycling 54 billion aluminum cans.

-Of course, oil isn’t our only source of energy. Recycling materials also reduces our need for coal—and that protects those purple mountains majesty.

-Using less energy also saves money. Saving money improves the national economy, but the recycling industry has given the national economy a real boost by creating over a million jobs. In fact, a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that jobs in conservation and pollution mitigation (including the recycling industry) make up 65% of the United States’ clean energy economy.

-Recycling reduces the amount of solid waste we need to dump in landfills, which in turn, reduces the need for landfills. By protecting our land from being “filled” with garbage, we’re helping to keep America beautiful.

-Recycling paper protects our forests by reducing the need for trees to produce paper. Recycling cars and other objects made of steel and iron reduces the amount of iron ore we must mine and recycling aluminum reduces the amount of aluminum we have to pull out of the ground.

There you have it. You love your country. You just have a different way of showing it. Now, gather your friends and family and enjoy your 4th of July barbecue. Don’t forget to grab your recycled (and recyclable) plates ( and your recycled American flag (