For example, they recycle disposable plastic plates! Yes that's right, they do not throw them away like we would in the U.S. In the U.S., the majority of "disposable" plastic plates would end up in a landfill somewhere. The town we were visiting actually picks up compost (fruit & veggie scraps, coffee grounds, etc.) from homes and redistributes it. In 2006, approximately 90% of households in Canada participated in some sort of recycling program. Additionally, the Canadian province we were in also has restrictions on the amount of garbage that can be thrown away every week! We in the U.S. (and other places as well) should take notice, and then we should follow suit! Since Americans throw away an average of 4.5 pounds of garbage per day, per person in the United States (most in the world, by the way), we have some work to do.
Despite those scary statistics, there is some encouraging news for those of us in the U.S. In the past decade, participation in recycling programs in the U.S. has increased by 100%, so we're not all that bad. We just can't sit on our collective duffs and think that it's good enough and let it go at that. We need to DO something. And by doing something we can be kinder to Mother Earth and help out our sluggish economy at the same time. The EPA estimates that 75 percent of our garbage in the U.S. is technically recyclable and that the recycling process could create jobs. Recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs. Wow! We could be throwing a whole lot less away and create jobs. Talk about making more green!
In the spirit of Eco-Steps, here are a few links to learn more about what you can do to recycle:
- Page on wastes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)