Today is America Recycles Day, and we couldn’t be happier to celebrate a day highlighting sustainability! Our great state of Colorado has made some large strides to prioritize sustainability initiatives in the last few years. One example is that Colorado was one of six municipalities in the country that made changes toward stricter recycling processes at the beginning of the year.
The primary focus was the reduction of single-use plastics through the implementation of a 10-cent fee on plastic bags across the state, and the banning of polystyrene containers for food-related businesses. This was just the first step in a multiyear-long plan to boost the state’s overall recycling rate.
Currently, Colorado is a state with an incredibly low rate of recycling. We are at a surprising 16% recycling rate, compared to the national average of 32%. This has been a major motivator to implement a statewide free recycling program for households. Because this program has a few years until its rollout, we figured we could share some facts and bust some recycling myths to celebrate America Recycles day.
- You may wonder if some uncommon household objects you want to get rid of are recyclable. A broken lightbulb, leftover paint, batteries, old chargers, the list goes on! The city of Denver has created a guide, where you can type in what it is you’re trying to recycle, and it will tell you what that process looks like.
- There’s a myth that recycling isn’t worth the effort because most of what’s sent out isn’t actually recycled. Over 90% of what is sent to Materials Recovery Facilities, known as MRF’s (the facilities that process materials to be recycled) is recycled, and is sold within North America.
- The United States annually recycles enough iron and steel scrap metals (known as ferrous scrap), by weight, to build more than 900 Golden Gate Bridges — a bridge stretching nearly 9,000 feet.
- Recycling is good for the economy! In a study by U.S. Recycling Economic Information Study (REI), the US Recycling Industry employed 1.25 million people whereas the US Solid Waste Management industry employed only 0.25 million people.
Here at We Don’t Waste we educate our community on the full lifecycle of food, and how to prevent all kinds of waste be kind to our planet. While reducing waste at the source and reusing products are ideal, it is important to remember that recycling is the next best alternative for sustainability.
When it comes to organic waste products, recycling inedible food isn’t really an option, but composting is! Learn more about how to get started composting on our blog.