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National Recycling Day: How Kansans can continue the effort

National Recycling Day
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:45 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Monday is National Recycling Day. Started by the National Recycling Coalition in 1997, the aim of the day is to make it a second Earth Day, reminding Americans to be resourceful when it comes to waste.

Recycling prevents pollution, reduces the need to create new materials, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

However, according to the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA), collectively, out of the 292.4 million tons of trash Americans can produce in one year, we recycle only 32 percent of it, and the EPA says 75 percent of that waste in the U.S. is recyclable.

Americans create about 710 pounds of recyclable waste and more than 1,000 pounds of waste gets dumped in landfills. That amount of waste per person is about the weight of a grizzly bear.

A similar statistic by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) says Kansans produce more than 6 million tons of waste with only about 33 percent of municipal solid waste being recycled.

ProKansas, the region’s largest non-profit recycling center, says reducing waste and reusing is simple for Kansans.

Items that must be recycled are paper, plastics, metal and glass. But there are things that could stop those products from being recycled: food residue, plastic stickers on the items, items containing hazardous materials, and dangerous broken recyclable items can thrown in landfills.

When items are properly recycled and sorted through they can be used to make new products without having to create new materials. This can also help stop greenhouse gases and prevent water pollutants.

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