America Recycles Day (11-15-11), a program since 1997, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States gathered community groups in 35 state to embrace the message that plastic bags should not be treated like trash.Over 130 plastic bag collection activities were held to celebrate the annual event sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and aimed at raising public awareness to reduce, reuse and recycle throughout the year. America Recycles Day includes school-wide collection competitions, craft fairs showcasing items made from reused plastic bags, and earth patrols promoting sustainability with help from their toolkit. Read an article about the day. be sure to check out the winning video of 2011 America Recycles Day “Recycling is No Joke” video competition:
Really, anything can be reused or repurposed. This blog – How Can I Recycle This? – offers over 900 items and over 14,000 suggestions of ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle things that would otherwise go in the bin! Check it out, search for most anything and find creative and useful ideas for recycling! From VHS tapes to crock pots to old lentils to house keys. Search and explore or share your own ideas. You can also follow them on twitter.
A few people have asked me recently about how single stream recycling works since its a better method for recycling. (which has developed since in general people don’t seem to understand how to sort and not put trash in recycle bins, especially on my campus!)
This awesome Web site www.explorethecycle.com offers simply explained, short video clips demonstrating “the cycle” and “the MRF” (and by visiting their site you can also watch clips on paper, glass, metal, plastic and overseas!)
Who are you buying from and how much do they actually recycle? An article in CNET gives some details on the recycling of the big companies but the problem is there is no standard way for companies to calculate such statistics, you are reading their individual companies’ corporate reports, and so much of the stats rely on the consumers actually bringing in items to recycle. But here is what CNET article offers: Office Depot says they recycled almost 1.5 million pounds of old tech equipment in a year but asks customers to pay $5, $10, or $15 for a box they can fill with everything from printers to digital cameras. Staples started recycling in May 2007 and by the end of the year they say they have recycled 2 million pounds of tech junk. They charge $10 per large item regardless of where you originally bought it. Hewlett-Packard has had a recycling program since 1987 and offers money towards new purchases for recycling. As of June 2007, they state they have recycled more than 1 billion pounds of electronics with a goal to reach 2 billion pounds by the end of 2010. In 2007, Apple collected about 21 million pounds of e-waste in 95% of countries where it sells products. Dell offers free consumer recycling and in 2 years announced they had recycled about 255 million pounds of its own products. IBM says it has collected and recovered from 1995 -2007 more than 1.5 billion pounds of product and product waste worldwide.
if you are thinking about recycling your computer, here is an article on How to wipe your hard drive clean before you drop it off, wherever you choose.
Last Friday at The Green Paraprofessional Conference at East Carolina University Libraries, Suzanne Metcalf presented on her project of recycling book jackets into amazing gift bags. She got the idea several years ago working at Georgia Southern University when she noticed that the decorative book covers removed from the hardback books before being placed on the shelves. After she saw a student at the circulation desk sporting a bag made of foil Capri Sun juice pouches, she got the idea. She graciously offers a how-to turn book jackets into gift bags (PDF). Here is an article by Her Magazine with more information and with a photos of Suzanne and some of the awesome bags!