Letter (Web version): Recycling is one way to reduce individual carbon footprint
Sunday is America Recycles Day. This national day of celebration and advocacy for recycling provides the opportunity to remind Hoosiers that recycling is a simple way for all of us to protect the environment, preserve natural resources and reduce our individual carbon footprints.
People are often surprised to learn that recycling is one of the easiest and least expensive ways Hoosiers can reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, according to a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, 42 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of consumer products, food and packaging. Notably, this major category of emissions can be significantly reduced when we consume less and recycle more. The report also shows recycling to be a relatively inexpensive carbon-reduction tool.
In addition, when products are manufactured with recycled materials, precious natural resources (trees, water, minerals and fossil fuels) are conserved. Also, because products made with recycled material require less overall material and energy input than products made with raw materials, less air and water pollution is created during the manufacturing process. For example, it takes 95 percent less energy to make aluminum from recycled aluminum than producing it from raw materials. Aluminum can be recycled quickly and repeatedly. Within 60 days of being picked up at a recycling center, scrap aluminum can be back on store shelves as new product packaging.
I encourage everyone to start recycling their household aluminum and steel cans, glass, plastic and paper. If people are recycling at home, they take the next steps: recycle at work and ask schools to recycle. Tell elected officials that recycling services are important. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to improve the environment.
The Indiana Recycling Coalition is working to bring about positive change through education and outreach and by promoting policies and programs that increase recycling in Indiana. Recycling reduces our personal carbon footprint, reduces our state’s carbon footprint, reduces manufacturing costs, preserves natural resources and saves money. It just makes sense.
For a list of America Recycles Day activities statewide, visit the Indiana Recycling Coalition Web site at www.indianarecycling.org and click on the America Recycles Day icon.
Executive Director, Indiana Recycling Coalition