Celebrate America Recycles Day November 15!
Except for maybe Earth Day, America Recycles Day is one of our favorites. November 15 is all about Recycling. It’s particularly worth celebrating this year because, even during a pandemic, recycling is one of the easiest and best ways to help the planet.
According to the EPA, Americans have drastically improved our recycling recovery rate – from only 7% in 1960, to 35.2% in 2017. Recycling and composting help us reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources and energy, and prevents pollution. You can find out exactly how much energy is saved when you recycle with this calculator from the EPA! On top of the environmental benefits, recycling also creates well-paying jobs and supports the economy.
In Salt Lake City, we do our part to help improve recycling. With compost and recycling efforts, we are able to divert 42% of our waste from the landfill. In August 2020, we recycled 606.1 tons of your recyclables. Recycling at this rate helps avoid 880 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps save the energy equivalent to powering 79 homes, and the daily water needs of 12,205 people!
You can be confident that this material is making its way to legitimate destinations. Our recycling contractor, Waste Management, has been keeping all plastic recycling domestic since last year.
They have also opened up a state-of-the-art new recycling facility here in Salt Lake City that benefits our residents, as well as other customers and communities throughout the state.
Sustainability at Home
We’re all spending a lot more time at home as we collectively work to stop the spread of COVID-19.
For the zero waste loyalists out there, the pandemic may be extra frustrating because there is more plastic to manage as more stores require single-use packaging and deliveries are piling on the cardboard and the plastic.
However, while it may feel as though you’re limited in what you can do for the planet, recycling remains a great tool in your green toolbox.
In Salt Lake City, we recycle plastic containers, aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, and paper in our curbside collection program.
All that home delivery cardboard can be recycled and turned into new products, so make sure you’re breaking down your boxes and filling your blue bins!
Materials like plastic bags and films should be taken to your grocery store for recycling (yes including some of the Amazon envelopes and other plastic packaging – learn more here).
You can also recycle glass locally through Momentum Glass Recycling.
Wondering where to donate or recycle things like textiles, Styrofoam, or electronic waste? Find the answers to these questions and more on our Specialty Recycling Resources Page.
How to Make America Recycles Day Last All Year
In Salt Lake City, we’re lucky to have a robust recycling program. We also have the support of fantastic local organizations dedicated to keeping waste out of the landfill and conserving natural resources. Here’s what some of them are doing this month:
Utah Recycling Alliance Trash Talk Series
Coming up on November 11, the Utah Recycling Alliance and Momentum Recycling are hosting their latest installment of the URA Trash Talk Series. John Lair from Momentum Recycling will answer all your questions about glass recycling in the Intermountain region and how to choose the most sustainable beverage packaging option for you! You can sign up for this event by following this link.
Another local non-profit that is dedicated to educating people about the importance of proper recycling is Redo Recycling. Head over to their site and social media pages to learn more about the importance of creating a circular economy here in Utah and what that means for you! For America Recycles Day, they’re working with the Urban Arts Gallery to display art and poetry from grades 3 – 12 on why recycling is so important. Check it out!
If you’re more interested in Reuse before we get to Recycle, make sure to check out local non-profit Clever Octopus! They are a discounted arts and crafts store, and also provide a critical service in upcycling many household items that would otherwise go to the landfill.
Check out their list of accepted items for donation. And if you’re feeling like some crafting would do you good as we head into winter, see their at-home online workshops!
Salt Lake City Joins the Plastics Pact
While recycling is foundational to our waste management system, we must continue to improve it. There continue to be policy and technological gaps that, once addressed, would strengthen the entire recycling system immensely. That’s why Salt Lake City is excited to have recently joined the Plastics Pact to network with other leaders nationally on how to get to the source of the problem—too much plastic production that doesn’t have a recycling solution at this time. See a recent Plastics Pact story here.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Even during a pandemic, we can all do our part to practice the 3 Rs! And remember, recycling is one of the easiest ways to reduce emissions, save energy, and prevent pollution in Salt Lake City and beyond.
We hope you’ll join SLCgreen in celebrating America Recycles Day this year on Nov. 15! Share this post with your network, or encourage someone you know who doesn’t recycle to start doing so.
Thank you for recycling!