You probably already know you can recycle cans, bottles, and paper. But how about mattresses? Holiday lights? Carpet? Toilet paper tubes?
Today, November 15, celebrate America Recycles Day by making a pledge to recycle more throughout the year.
Minnesota has one of the highest recycling rates in the nation. Yet we could still do more to recover the millions of tons of discarded recyclables we still throw away each year.
“There are hundreds of Minnesota businesses that rely on recycled material to manufacture products,” says Wayne Gjerde, recycling markets expert at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “Recyclables that are thrown away in Minnesota are worth an estimated $211 million,” he said, “and we spend $200 million to dispose of it — that’s like throwing away cold, hard cash.”
Recommit to recycle
Recycling is one of the easiest ways to protect the environment while supporting the local economy.
By committing to recycling, you will help support nearly 37,000 Minnesota jobs that contribute $8.5 billion in economic activity,” says Gjerde.
And that’s not all. Minnesota recycled enough materials to conserve over 5 million trees, saving enough energy to power all the homes in Ramsey County for one year, and reduced greenhouse gases equivalent to taking more than 1.3 million cars off the road.
Simple actions with a big impact
Follow these tips to help expand your recycling:
- Crumpled paper or a crushed can? “It’s still recyclable,” Gjerde says, “just because it may look like trash doesn’t mean it is trash. Those items can go into the recycling bin.”
- Planning a party or event? “Set a clearly marked recycling bin next to your trash.” says Gjerde, “It will let your guests know you are committed to recycling.”
- Mattresses, holiday lights, carpet, and toilet paper tubes? These unusual items can be recycled. In the Twin Cities, visit Rethink Recycling.
- Look for products made from recycled-content. Many Minnesota businesses use recycled material.
America Recycle Day is the day to start making recycling bigger and better — 365 days a year.
Learn more about what you can do to reduce your impact on the environment at Living Green's Home and Garden page.