The Impact of Recycling!

Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is the accumulation of everyday office, household and retail trash. While these small items may seem insignificant, they add up considerably. Approximately 27.4 percent of landfill consists of paper and paperboard, while 14.5 percent is food waste. Surprisingly, yard trimming and plastics constitute 13.5 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively. Metals, rubber, leather and textiles add another 8.9 and 8.7 percent, and wood and glass make up 6.3 and 4.6 percent.

When you figure that Americans generate 251 million tons of waste annually nationwide, each person contributes significantly to the amount of MSW. In fact, one person generates 4.38 pounds of waste per day. The average household produces 11.43 pounds of MSW daily. In one year, the average amount of waste created per household is 4,172 pounds, which is equivalent to the weight of a rhinoceros. However, approximately 75 percent of national MSW is recyclable. That percentage equals 188 million tons of waste. Unfortunately, Americans only recycle 65 million tons, leaving the remaining 135 million tons of MSW to end up in landfills.

It is easy to forget to recycle items used on a daily basis, such as newspapers, shampoo containers, junk mail, cans and toilet paper rolls. If everyone doubled what they currently recycle, the nation could recycle 130 million tons annually.

The Impact Of Recycling: Making A Daily Difference



    Here in Ireland there is no excuse not to recycle. Every town/county council is required by law to provide recycling sites and weekly/fortnightly house-to-house collections. Ireland was the first country in Europe to ban free plastic bags at checkouts (and smoking in workplaces, come to that) which has had a huge and visible impact on the environment. Every child’s curriculum includes care of the environment and schools are encouraged to lead the way in their localities so that even in our tiny village we have a collection point for larger articles that raises funds for school building, pavements (sidewalks) & litter bins.

  • Tamra Phelps

    Before we moved, about a year ago, we always recycled. Our former town made it easy. they provided special recycling trash bins & there was a Recycling Site for you to bring bigger items, etc., but the smaller town we live in now has neither of those. So…I have fallen out of the habit. I really wish we had a recycling program here. It definitely helps!

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