Monday, July 6, 2009

Recycling ... by RecycleBank

This past weekend, the U.S. celebrated the 4th of July ... our Independence Day. There were all kinds of activities going on ... speeches, concerts, festivals ... all designed to renew our sense of patriotism and pride. Many of the festivities included recognition of those who serve in our military and those who volunteer their time to make our world a better place. And ... an appeal went out to all of us to do our part.

There are so many ways to "do our part". The kind people at RecycleBank offer us this one:

Recycling…as American as Apple Pie

What is patriotic? Fighting for one’s country is patriotic, flag-waving is patriotic, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” is patriotic. Now, let’s think outside the bin (sorry, recycling humor) to something you do everyday. That’s right. Every time you reduce, reuse and recycle you’re celebrating your love for your country.

During World War II citizens were urged to recycle (or “salvage”) metal, rubber, paper and even kitchen fat to help in the war effort. Today’s soldiers don’t need recycled steel for guns, salvaged kitchen fat for explosives or scrap paper for packaging, but recycling is still patriotic.

By recycling, we show our love for our country by protecting our nation’s resources, reducing our dependence on the resources of other countries and boosting our economy.

Here’s how:

  • Recycling plastic reduces the need for virgin plastic. Of course, virgin plastic isn’t a natural resource, but the petroleum used to make it is. In fact, approximately 4% of our annual oil consumption is used to make plastics. By recycling more plastic we reduce the need for the production of virgin plastic and that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Manufacturing products using recycled materials instead of virgin materials requires a lot less energy. Making an aluminum can from recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy than making an aluminum can from virgin aluminum. In 2003, we reduced our oil usage by more than 15 million barrels by recycling 54 billion aluminum cans.
  • Of course, oil isn’t our only source of energy. Recycling materials also reduces our need for coal—and that protects those purple mountains majesty.
  • Using less energy also saves money. Saving money improves the national economy, but the recycling industry has given the national economy a real boost by creating over a million jobs. In fact, a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that jobs in conservation and pollution mitigation (including the recycling industry) make up 65% of the United States’ clean energy economy.
  • Recycling reduces the amount of solid waste we need to dump in landfills, which in turn, reduces the need for landfills. By protecting our land from being “filled” with garbage, we’re helping to keep America beautiful.
  • Recycling paper protects our forests by reducing the need for trees to produce paper. Recycling cars and other objects made of steel and iron reduces the amount of iron ore we must mine and recycling aluminum reduces the amount of aluminum we have to pull out of the ground.

There you have it. You love your country. You just have a different way of showing it. Now, gather your friends and family and enjoy your 4th of July barbecue. Don’t forget to grab your recycled (and recyclable) plates and your recycled American flag.

So, the next time you recycle something, feel proud ... and patriotic! Thanks to RecycleBank for this wonderful article.

As always ... I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Do you know of any sites/resources that tell you what, exactly, is recycable? I never know, beyond the obvious, what I can recycle and my town's recycling center site has practically no information on this. And I would love to recycle more stuff - I just want to do it correctly. :)

  2. Great question, Sotorrific! My favorite place for learning what's recyclable and where, in a specific area, is Earth 911 at:

    I've also tried calling the waste management people in my area to find out how and where to recycle stuff. They are usually very helpful.

    I hope that helps!


  3. excellent post...i wish more saw it this way...

    and speaking of independence day, i wish more would think about how to be more environmentally sensitive on this holiday...are blowing up illegal m80s and other highly toxic, highly fire-ific items really necessary? they terrify our pets and other wildlife (inside and outside of the city). they litter our streets (no one in our neighborhood seems to care about where the shells land - my yard, garden, gutters all victims) and start fires. they are incredible noise pollution. and does anyone think of where all those shells land from those waterfront displays on the rivers or beaches? or is it OK with them for everything to land in the water...

    in regards to where to recycle, definitely check out your city's web page as it will direct you not only to your waste management, but often to their recycling/ environmental policy as a whole so you can see who recycles what. portland (ok i'm terribly fortunate, i know!) has an incredible site on the city's page that allows you not only to see where recyclers are, but to search by type, proximity to home, and whether they pick up and/or deliver. sigh :)

    and food for thought...if you don't KNOW how to recycle it, should you even buy it in the first place? hmmm. at least keep the question in mind when looking at packaging and whether you really truly NEED the item...helps keep us focused on what's most important in our own lives and healthy for the planet.

  4. You mean this RecycleBank?

  5. We went to the beach on July 5th and the stuff that was left behind just made me very angry. I just cleaned that beach up a few days ago! It was not an eco 4th on one beach.

  6. I love recycling the WWII slogans for the environment as much as I miss my victory (against corporate agriculture) garden.

  7. I have been trying hard lately to recycle. In Michigan we have the 10 cent deposit on soda bottles and cans, so we always recycle those, thats a given. I have changed my laundry detergent and dish soap, hand soap all to brands that use recycling and buy refills so I can reuse the containers. I have also started to read all containers more. Little by little I hope it helps. I will be posting on this Anne

  8. I have made a post at

    regarding recycling.

    Thanks Anne

  9. Recycling is one of the reasonable ways to protect our planet. great post.

  10. Very interesting subject and a well written article. You have skills and there's no doubt about it.