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Recycling 101

Sat, Nov 20th, 2010
Posted in The Great Outdoors

With today's technology, there are countless groups and agencies that supply us with information on almost any subject, including recycling. I know many of you search the web now and then to gain a little more knowlege about things that may be of interest to you. Most of you who read these Recycling 101 articles are interested in recycling trends and how you can improve your recycling habits. That is usually my goal as I write these articles. Today the information I am going to share with you will once again show you why recycling is so very important.

The Recycling Association of Minnesota, Recycle Across America, Recycle More Minnesota, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have shared most of the following information with me and I will now pass a few interesting tidbits on to you.

Minnesota is in second place in the nation when it comes to recycling rates. You have to feel good about that. Oregon is currently holding down first place. Minnesota's recycling rate is forty-three percent, well above the national average. Our goal is to get to fifty percent in the next year or two which is very possible if a bunch more people here in Fillmore County and throughout the state catch on to the importance of recycling.

Now for a few bits of information for you to ponder. Five plastic bottles can be recycled to provide enough fiber to create one square foot of carpet or enough fiber to fill one ski jacket. Americans throw away two and a half million plastic bottles every hour. In 1976, each American drank about one and one-half gallons of bottled water. That number is now nearing thirty gallons. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year.

Every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum into the landfills to build, not one plane, but an entire commercial fleet. In your lifetime, you will have the opportunity to recycle 25,000 aluminum cans. It takes 95 percent less energy to recycle a can than to make it from "scratch."

Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a twelve foot high wall from Seattle to New York. Recycling a stack of newspaper three feet tall saves one tree. More than 37 percent of the fiber used to make new paper products in the United States comes from recycled sources.

Recycling one ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil. Over 90 percent of all products shipped in the US are shipped in corrugated boxes, which totals more than 400 billion square feet of cardboard in a year. That amount of cardboard would cover the entire area of Fillmore County more than sixteen times, and would be two and one-half inches thick. That is a lot of cardboard and a lot of trees if recycled material is not used.

The Salvation Army clothing bins here at the Recycling Center continue to fill frequently. However, we are still seeing a lot of usable clothing in the landfill garbage. Please remember, any clothing can be donated as long as it is clean. Torn clothing is acceptable. You can also donate clean bedding, linens, towels, curtains, and throw rugs along with wearable shoes, belts, and purses.

Please spend some time thinking about these facts and figures. Visit with your neighbors and share some of this information with them to show your interest in recycling and the environment. Now that the elections are over, make recycling part of your conversations. The outcome might surprise you. That fifty percent rate in Minnesota will be attained with your help.

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