It’s America Recycles Day! Today, we celebrate the commitment to living sustainably and rededicate ourselves to thoughtful resource management at home and in the workplace.
As President Obama wrote in his America Recycles Day Proclamation, Americans have been recycling for decades. During the First and Second World Wars, families gathered scraps and material that could be reused for war manufacturing. In 2011, we recycled or composted 34 percent of the 250 million tons of municipal waste generated in the United States. President Obama’s proclamation highlighted the importance of recycling for our economy:
We have bolstered recycling programs through individual action, community engagement, and national initiatives, and we have broadened our efforts to include a vast array of pioneering industrial processes that will drive our clean economy and create green jobs. These advances cut waste, preserve our natural bounty, and spur the robust and sustainable economic growth that will carry us through this century and into the next.
Our progress is impressive, but there is more we can be doing to protect our environment and conserve our limited natural resources. For example, updating and expanding our recycling programs to accommodate the 2 million tons of used electronic waste we generate each year can help put these resources back into productive use. Recycling just one cell phone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours, according to the EPA.
On this America Recycles Day, commit yourself to producing less waste, reusing and recycling more materials, and protecting our nation’s precious natural resources.