Many families have a designated recycling bin that they take out with the trash each week. Some families have a compost bin while others drive to their local recycling center whenever they have items that need to be dropped off. Recycling doesn’t take up much of our time, but simply taking the time to reduce and reuse waste helps ensure our future and the future of Texas water.
Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, which is the only nationally recognized day solely designated to promote recycling initiatives in the United States. The day is coordinated by the Keep America Beautiful organization, a national nonprofit established in 1953 and dedicated to improving community environments across the country.
But how does recycling directly benefit your family, community and your daily routine? While recycling does have many benefits, perhaps the most important one is conserving water and maintaining higher water quality.
Recycling items helps conserve water and prevent stormwater pollution, a major cause of contamination in our waterways. A common misconception is that stormwater is transported to and treated at a wastewater treatment facility. However, storm drains place the water directly into a local waterway. Plastic bags, pesticides and other waste can be carried from yards and streets to local lakes, rivers and streams, which affects the quality of the water that we use every day.
Along with conserving our water resources, recycling can also save you money by downsizing your monthly utility bill, preserving other natural resources such as minerals and timber, and saving energy that would otherwise be used to extract and transport new materials and reduce landfill dependence. According to the National Recycling Coalition, recycling has created 1.1 million jobs and $236 billion in gross annual sales.
By recycling as much of your trash as possible and not producing litter, you can help create a cleaner community and preserve Texas’ water resources. Regardless of its size, litter affects the environment for a long time. Fortunately, there are actions and habits that you can make in your everyday life that will reduce your waste.
Take measures to avoid unintentional littering by securing your trash can lids and lightweight items in your truck bed. Recycling household hazardous wastes (HHW) and large items such as old vehicles and appliances isn’t as difficult as it may seem. If you do not have recycling pick up options available to you, many communities have recycling centers where you can drop off your recyclable items. Check with your city or county for the availability of recycling options, HHW collections and solid waste convenience stations.
Other ways to support America Recycles Day include:
- Collect recyclables from neighbors and bringing them to a community recycling center.
- Return clean plastic grocery bags to your local grocery store for recycling.
- Bring metal hangers back to dry cleaners so that they may be reused.
- Purchase products with recycled content.
Together, we can help conserve our most valuable resources by reducing our waste, reusing products and recycling. If you are interested in participating in an America Recycles Day event, click here for more information. To learn more about recycling basics, click here.