Monday, June 07, 2010

Can One Person Really Make A Difference?

On Saturday morning, I participated in "Tire Amnesty Day" in Monongalia County by taking a few old car and bicycle tires to Sam's Club in Granville to be recycled. Usually there is a small fee associated with such efforts, but this past Saturday, it was free. I thought I would take advantage of the oppportunity to rid myself of some of the tires that various roommates have left at the house over the years, and do a good turn for the environment.

While I was there, I received an info packet containing ways to recycle virtually everything I might ever want to get rid of. Unfortunately it was packaged in what looked like a non-recyclable (at least locally) #4 plastic bag. Bummer if so, but maybe it is a compostable bag. In one of the pamplets it listed the top ten myths about recycling. The #1 myth is "One person can't make a difference."

Here's the Monongalia Solid Waste Authority's response to that statement.

In [Monongalia county], one person makes a big difference in the recycling rate. Each day, one person in WV generates 4.07 pounds of trash, which becomes 1485 pounds over a whole year. About 48% of this trash is recyclable.

This means, in one person has the potentialto recycle:
332 pounds of cardboard and paper products
74 pounds of metals
193 pounds of plastic
116 pounds of glass

Averaging current yearly recycling rates over the county population, one Monongalia County resident actually recycles:
49 pounds of cardboard and paper products
3 pounds of metals
3 pounds of plastic
12 pounds of glass

Even though a very small percentage of this county's population is currently recycling, in the past year, this small effort has saved:
1.9 million kilowatt hours of energy (enough to power 174 homes in WV)
171,596 gallons of oil
81,797 trees.

One person really can make a difference. Imagine if you recycled. Imagine if your business recycled. Imagine the possible energy savings and the positive good that YOU would be doing for future generations, whether you live in Monongalia County, WV or some other part of the world.

Today, may you take the time to begin to make your contribution to bettering this world.


Alise said...

My youngest daughter had been pushing us to recycle for a long time and we FINALLY got on the "real" recycling bandwagon (beyond just recycling our aluminum cans and plastic bottles).

Wow. I could not believe how much stuff we had been throwing away that we could/should have been recycling. Our garbage went down by at least 50%.

We still don't compost, but I think that's next on our list (if Faith has anything to say about it!). I'm so thankful for my daughter's push to that. The difference was made by an 8 year old in our house!

Mommy Relcuk said...

We recycle "everything" where I live in Ontario. Curbside: All numbers of plastic, milk/juice cartons, all types of metal cans, paper, boxboard, cardboard, the list is endless. We also have an "organic" bin that is collected curbside with compostable material -- fruit peels, table scraps, tissues, etc. It's pretty cool - it has a sealed lid and there is no smell through the week. The municipality also makes it very easy to properly discard items like old applicances, chemicals, computers, etc.

Dustin Noe said...

Interestingly, my wife and I attended a "Eco-Day" Festival this past Saturday. There were raffles and games with the main emphasis placed on separating the food containers, napkins, cups, skewers, etc. that you eat into the correct recycle bin (there were about six or more bins). Also, we filled out a questionnaire and received recycled toilet paper! It's hard to believe how much regulation is needed, but it helps sort the garbage before it goes to the waste management. One family/ person makes all of the difference when it comes to taking responsibility to clean up after yourself... I only wish I didn't need a J-E dictionary each time I throw away a Snickers bar wrapper!

chanchanchepon said...

Thanks for the comments y'all!

@alise--I can remember when I first got involved in recycling, it was in grade school. I saw it as an entrepreneurial adventure as I could get $0.24/lb for aluminum cans.

@mommy relcuk--great to hear about municipal recycling in Ontario. btw, I just heard Simon & Garfunkel are planning a concert in Toronto in July. back in WV, because of the rural nature of WV we have a number of recycling centers around mon county. It's pretty fun to see folks lining up on the weekends to drop their recyclables off in receptacles.

@Dustin--you've gotta let me know the next time you are stateside. I'd love to hang out. Also, what category of recycling does a snickers wrapper fall under?