Americans are definitely more conscious of the environment, and consequently recycling, than we have ever been before. Even so, the average American household manages to throw away approximately 3 pounds of trash every single day. Sadly, more than half of that trash is estimated to be completely recycle-worthy.
While there is always room for improvement, and we can all do better to ensure a healthier planet, the following is a list of items where we are making positive progress as a recycling nation.
A costly and useful material, steel is used in the manufacturing of automobiles, household appliances, in the construction industry and much more. As a country, we are getting better at recycling this resource, and, consequently, we are sparing the environment from the unnecessary depletion of resources. Our nation’s growing participation in steel recycling is also helping to reduce greenhouse gasses that are generated by manufacturing waste and pollution.
2. Aluminum Cans
Here a can, there a can, everywhere are beverage cans. Whether its juice, sodas or beer, aluminum cans make up a large part of American consumerism, and fortunately, they are also a growing part of our new, positive, recycling mindset.
Recycling aluminum saves up to 95% of the energy wasted when manufacturing cans from new, raw materials. Aluminum recycling is moving in a very positive direction. Americans are becoming more conscious of the need to recycle this product and are making a genuine, conscious effort to minimize their environmental footprint.
3. Plastic Bottles
Individual water bottles are purchased by the billions on an annual basis. Fortunately, plastic containers represent a substantial amount of American recycled items.
Yet, there is definitely room for improvement. Most plastic bottles are still tossed in the trash. Creating new containers for consumers generates more than a strain on our resources, it wastes energy and leads to landfill overuse nightmares.
While Americans are reading fewer printed news materials, those who still do are making this item a top recyclable in the U.S.A. By doing so, recyclers of newspapers are saving trees, water, and even energy in the process.
Additional Recyclables: How We Can Do Better?
In addition to increasing our numbers of the top American recycled products, we can still increase our efforts to include additional recyclables. Those items that need improvement include cardboard, glass containers, computers, and electronics.
Cardboard packaging is fully recyclable. Consider the enormous number of products sent out by Amazon alone. Unfortunately, most of these boxes will end up as waste in the garbage.
In addition to the average family, businesses can improve their environmental contribution by breaking down cardboard boxes for recycling.
Our need for cardboard packaging will only increase over time, but having a mindset to use these products over and over will spare more than just trees, it will save water, which is always used in wood product manufacturing.
Glass bottles and jars, designed for food and beverages, are often forgotten in the American family’s recycling efforts. Yet, this type of glass is 100% recyclable. Yes, 100%. And these products can be recycled repeatedly, without ever losing their quality.
Remember: Whether it’s jars of pasta sauce, pickles or even beverage bottles, glass is perfect for recycling.
7. Computers and Electronics
Besides overburdening our landfills, tossing out computers and electronics can leak harmful toxins like lead and mercury into the environment, including our groundwater. When recycled, some of the materials can be reclaimed to create new computer systems, while the rest can be safely disposed of by professionals.