I was dropping off my recycling at the Kanawha Country Solid Waste Authority Recycling Center on Slack Street when a man there looked at me and said, wryly, “Saving the world, one plastic bottle at a time.” I took it he realized it was an uphill battle, but it was still important enough to do. I gathered that because he had more cans and bottles than I did.
According to the website GreenWaste.com: “The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.” In my mind, that makes recycling a national security issue. If we didn’t throw all that paper away, would we be closer to energy independent? GreenWaste.com says so. “Aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, even so, the energy required to replace just the aluminum cans wasted in 2001 was equivalent to 16 million barrels of crude oil, enough to meet the electricity needs of all homes in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco and Seattle.”
Another way to reduce waste is with reusable shopping bags. I leave mine in the trunk of my car so I always have them. When I was researching my children’s book Sea Turtle Rescue I learned that sea turtles mistake plastic shopping bags for food, eat them, and die. (I know there aren’t any sea turtles in West Virginia, but you would be surprised how far those bags can travel.) If you don’t want to bother with reusable bags, at least take the store bags back to the store and drop them off. They are recyclable, too.