(Published on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, in The Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA.)
Recycle & Reuse: Celebrating America Recycles Day 2015
America Recycles Day will be on November 15 but you can start celebrating today by learning about the products you could be recycling but probably are not. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day and coast-to-coast community-driven awareness campaign dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. It has been held on, and in the weeks leading into, November 15 since 1997. This special celebration is now organized by Keep America Beautiful which registered more than 2,000 America Recycles Day events in 2014.
This year’s theme, “Bathroom, Bags and Gadgets”, aims to shine a light on some of the every day, but not “top of mind” consumer products, which can and should be given another life through recycling. These include personal care items commonly found in the bathroom, like hair care and mouthwash bottles; plastic bags, such as those used at retail stores, and plastic wrap used in packaging paper towels, toilet paper or dry cleaning; and consumer electronics and gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, televisions and more.
We all know the Top 10 in the Bin: cardboard, paper, food boxes, mail, beverage cans, food cans, bottles, jars, jugs, and plastic bottles and caps. But for many Americans, recycling is not top-of-mind for other materials (plastic bags and wraps, electronics and textiles) that often can’t go into the curbside recycling bin but are still recyclable. You can be part of the solution by being more mindful of how to properly recycle the products you use, in your home and elsewhere. When the material is recycled, it becomes something new and valuable.
Plastic bags, for example, can be recycled into fences, decks, and shopping carts. However, they are not currently collected by the City of Dalton Curbside Recycling program or by the Convenience Centers in Whitfield County. Yet plastic bags can be recycled locally thanks to the many retailers who provide collection bins at the front of their store for clean and dry plastic shopping bags and even plastic wrap such as dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, newspaper bags. To learn more about what types of plastic wrap and film can be recycled with shopping bags visit www.abagslife.com.
Plastic bottles commonly found in the bathroom include the containers for shampoo, conditioner, liquid hand soap, and contact lens solution. These can be recycled along with plastic bottles and jugs from the kitchen in the local curbside program and at convenience centers. A plastic bottle can be recycled into new containers, t-shirts and fleeces, park benches, plastic lumber, and playground equipment. Before recycling make sure the containers are empty and replace the cap.
Electronic devices, like smartphones, can also be recycled yet they are sometimes forgotten in the back of a junk drawer. In Whitfield County, you can recycle electronic devices year round at the Old Dixie Hwy. Convenience Center. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.” For directions to the Old Dixie site visit www.DWSWA.org or call the recycling center at 706-278-5001.
“America Recycles Day provides a key moment in time to regain momentum for recycling in America, and to help make recycling a daily social norm across the country,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “Get involved by conducting an America Recycles Day event in your hometown. Take the “I Will Recycle” Pledge and invite your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. Let’s get people recycling every day – at home, at work, and on the go!”
More than 200,000 people have taken the “I Will Recycle” Pledge online or in person at ARD events, joining a growing movement of caring citizens committed to increase the recycling rate in America and to learn how to recycle right.
This year Keep America Beautiful, in celebration of America Recycles Day, is offering a chance to win one of four Apple Certified Refurbished iPad mini 3’s by posting a photo of yourself recycling with the hashtag #IWillRecycle and #Sweepstakes on Twitter or Instagram between October 15 and November 20. Official rules for the sweepstakes are available online at www.americarecyclesday.org.
America Recycles Day is made possible through the generous support of Amcor, American Chemistry Council, CyclePoint from Source America; Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Pilot Corporation of America (Pilot Pen).
Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Have questions about recycling in Whitfield County? Call 706-278-5001, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.