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Why we recycle

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in All Arts & Culture

LaVerne C. Paulson

Recycling Education Coordinator

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States and another group known as “Green Living” have made a lot of this information available for me to share with you. I realize you have heard or read some of this material more than once before, but a little review is sometimes good.

Throughout the United States, the recycling rate is about 34 percent. The State of Washington is in first place with fifty percent and Minnesota is in the top five with a little more than forty percent. As you know, the residents of Minnesota and we, here in Fillmore County, recycle a lot of stuff. However, nationally, we landfill more than fifty-four percent of the stuff we throw away, much of the stuff that scores of businesses throughout the state could use to make new products more economically.

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling benefits your community and the environment. The more we recycle, the less is sent to landfills. Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.

Recycling prevents many forms of pollution, saves energy, and reduces the need to collect new raw materials. Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations. Of course, recycling helps create well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

Here is some information on plastic bottles that I would like you to think about. Every day, consumers discard more than sixty million (60,000,000) plastic water bottles. These bottles litter highways, clog waterways, or end up in incineration and landfills. Plastic, buried in landfills can take up to 700 years to decompose.

Meeting consumer demand for water bottles in the United States requires more than 15 million barrels of oil each year for manufacturing, transport and disposal. That is enough oil to fuel approximately 1,000,000 cars for an entire year.

Plastic bottles are one of the least recycled materials in the United States. The Recycling Institute states that very few plastic bottles sold in the United States were recycled in 2004. If every American household recycled one out of every ten HDPE bottles, this would keep 200,000,000 pounds (one hundred thousand tons) of plastic out of landfills every year.

Reusing plastic water bottles means less need to manufacture new bottles from petroleum resin, and less trash that ends up in landfills, streams, lakes, ditches, and parks. Recycled plastic is made into plastic lumber, clothing, insulation for sleeping bags and ski jackets, flower pots, and car bumpers.

Please make every effort to get those plastic bottles out of the garbage and into the recycling and don’t forget to remove the caps. If you still feel the need for more plastic recycling education, another article about a relatively large floating plastic island or two in the Pacific Ocean is scheduled to appear in the near future. You will be amazed at what is happening to parts of your planet, and, in this case, it is perhaps not exceptionally good.


Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.


4:07:54, Feb 22nd 2013

Scott says:
Great article. Thanks for promoting plastics recycling. If you or your readers want more information, take a look at This is a blog with useful information and news about recycling plastic.


9:24:28, Feb 25th 2013

LaVerne says:
Thank you for your kind words. I will pass the website on as soon as the opportunity arises. I think I may be able to work it in with the floating plastic island article.


12:02:33, Feb 25th 2013 says:
Hi LaVerne - Here's a short video about birds dying on Midway Island due to eating plastic.



7:44:01, Feb 25th 2013

LaVerne says:
Thanks, Dot,

I knew there was junk floating around out there, but didn't expect it to have that much of an effect on an island such as Midway. It is disturbing how destructive a little garbage here and there can become. The floating plastic island article that should be published in the next couple weeks mentions the detrimental effect on sea life. I think I will offer this video at the end of the article.

Thanks again,

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