John Doherty is the New York City’s Commissioner of Sanitation. The following is his appeal to all private and corporate citizens of the City on the eve of America Recycles Day. As far as we are concerned, not a single sheet of paper has been wasted to deliver this story to our readers.
According to an old Native American proverb “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” In my view, these insightful words truly capture our responsibility toward the environment, not as something to exploit regardless of consequences, but as a legacy to pass on to future generations.
For those who would like to do something for the environment but do not have the time to volunteer, I say: Just make sure you recycle!
On Sunday, November 15th, America Recycles Day – sponsored by the nationally known Keep America Beautiful – will be celebrated across the land. It is a good opportunity to have fun and participate in the day’s many events. Above all, it is a day to recommit ourselves to incorporating recycling into our daily lives and teaching our children by example.
By making recycling a daily habit, you will protect the environment. It will also help you avoid fines – let’s keep in mind that in New York City recycling is the law! In fact, the City recycles glass, metal, plastics, paper, cardboard, etc. For information on what and how to recycle, please visit our website here and click on NYC Recycling Program.
Here are some interesting, little-known facts about recycling that can be found on the America Recycles Day website:
Is recycling new?
No. Before the 1920s, 70 percent of U.S. cities ran programs to recycle certain materials. During World War II, industry recycled and reused about 25 percent of the waste stream.
Why is recycling important?
In the last 50 years, the number of disposable goods has increased exponentially. From individually packaged food servings to disposable diapers, we’re generating more garbage than ever before. In fact, the average American discards about 4.6 pounds of garbage every day. This garbage mostly ends up in landfills. So, the more we discard, the more impact on our landfills, our resources and our environment.
What are the benefits of recycling?
Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference to help slow climate change and global warming. By recycling at home, you help significantly lower carbon emissions associated with extracting raw materials, manufacturing products and waste disposal. And you comply with the law!
What’s the current national rate of recycling?
It is about 33 percent, but it should be higher. We need to educate ourselves about what and how to recycle and spread the word so that everybody does the right thing and complies with the law.
What’s the tangible impact of recycling?
The amount of energy saved last year from recycling aluminum and steel cans, plastic and glass containers, newsprint and corrugated packaging was equivalent to:
• The amount of electricity consumed by 17.8 million Americans in one year.
• 29 percent of nuclear electricity generation in the U.S. in one year.
• 7.9 percent of electricity derived from fossil fuels in the U.S. in one year.
• 11 percent of the energy produced by coal-fired power plants in the U.S.
• The energy supplied from 2.7 percent of imported barrels of crude oil in the U.S.
• The amount of gasoline used in almost 11 million passenger automobiles in one year.
Just imagine… all these savings from placing empty milk cartons, glass jars, old newspapers and other used materials in recycling bins – small individual actions that, when taken together, add up to huge positive results.
To learn more about how to become involved and celebrate America Recycles Day, please go here.
Remember: recycling only requires picking up a few good habits. Let’s recycle and protect the environment. Every bit helps!