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Environmental Protection & Preservation

What Did You Recycle Today?

Don't throw those empty water bottles into the trash - recycle them. The same goes for the empty cereal box. On the eve of America Recycles Day, EPA is encouraging all Americans to expand their recycling activities.

Every year, America Recycles Day gives millions of Americans the opportunity to become better informed about the importance of daily recycling and buying recycled products. America Recycles Day is a day to remember that recycling is a simple, easy way to go green.

New data released by EPA shows that Americans generated 251 million tons of municipal solid waste and recycled and composted 82 million tons (about 32.5 percent) in 2006. Each American generated 4.6 pounds of waste each day, of which about 1.5 pounds were recycled. In addition, approximately 31 million tons of municipal solid waste were combusted for energy recovery in 2006.

Recycling offers opportunities for everyone to help reduce climate change, save energy, and conserve natural resources. For example, recycling just one ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 36 barrels of oil or 1,655 gallons of gasoline. Furthermore, using recycled materials instead of new materials saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Using recycled glass instead of new materials consumes 40 percent less energy.

When Americans combine their personal recycling with industrial recycling, they significantly contribute to the protection of the global environment. Americans also contribute to recycling by purchasing products with recycled content, less packaging and fewer harmful materials.

Recycling reduces costs to businesses and creates jobs. The American recycling and reuse industry is a $200 billion dollar enterprise involving more than 50,000 recycling and reuse establishments, employing more than 1 million people, and generating an annual payroll of approximately $37 billion.

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