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Recycling and voting

Posted March 12, 2014 in Advice Column, Greene County

Recycling is a lot like voting. It is hard to imagine that one person recycling or the one vote you cast is making any difference, but it does. It adds up, and as caretakers of the environment for our children and our children’s children, it is up to us as stewards of the land, to make sure we pass on a better and healthier living environment than when we were here.

All it takes is to make one step in the right direction and then another, then pretty soon it becomes a habit.

Recycle and re-use tips
• Reuse bags and containers. Wrap packages with brown paper bags or old newspapers. Wash out plastic containers and glass jars, reuse to store leftovers or dried goods in the cupboard.
•    Donate gently used clothes and toys to a local shelter or second hand store.
•    Organize an in-home recycling center, and teach your family how to use it.
•    Create a bin for e-waste such as old cell phones, mp3 players, iPods, etc. Drop them off at an electronic store. Visit:
•    Choose paper over plastic for your party. Skip the plastic and get paper products that break down easier in the environment.
•    Instead of buying bottled water, purchase a personal insulated water bottle to fill and take along on your travels.
•    When a grocery store cashier asks “Paper or plastic?”  say “Neither.” Purchase canvas/cloth bags for grocery shopping and reuse.

Trash facts
• The average person generates more than four pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
•    In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth, 24 times.
•    More than 75 percent of waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30 percent of it.
•    We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year. If we composted that food, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.
•    Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod. Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks.
•    Recycling aluminum cans saves 95 percent of the energy used to make aluminum cans from new material.
•    Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour.
•    More than 87 percent of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.
•    In 2009, Americans threw away almost 9 million tons of glass.  That could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from New York City to Los Angeles (and back).
•    In 2010, paper recycling had increased more than 89 percent since 1990.
• If every American recycled just one-tenth of his or her newspapers, we could save about 25 million trees each year.

Information provided by Joe Binder, former mayor of Paton.

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