The plastic bag you are about to throw out with the trash could help reduce energy consumption, decrease pollution, create jobs and save our natural resources – if it were recycled instead. America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful, is commemorated Nov. 15. Around that date, cities and counties across Hampton Roads celebrate by hosting a variety of recycling collection events, presenting a great excuse to clean out drawers, closets, offices and sheds!
The events differ by locality, but many include the collection of items that aren’t accepted for curbside recycling, such as electronics, plastic bags, ink and toner cartridges, household hazardous waste, documents for shredding, unwanted household items and clothing. Check the askHRgreen.org America Recycles Day event roundup to find out what’s happening in your community.
“Recycling is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the Hampton Roads economy,” said Julia B. Hillegass, askHRgreen.org team leader. “It helps municipalities operate more efficiently by reducing solid disposal fees, cutting back on the need to expand and build landfills and supporting and creating local jobs.”
In a 2010 study, the Southeast Recycling Development Council determined that Virginia is home to more than 15 manufacturers that rely on materials generated from recycling programs, which produced more than $3.6 billion in annual sales and employed more than 3,700 Virginians directly in the manufacture of recycled content products.
And if you’ve wondered what happens after you’ve dropped off your items, here’s a rundown of where it all ends up:
• Electronics – disassembled into smaller parts for re-use or for making new products
• Paper products – shredded, stripped, bailed and used to make new paper products
• Plastic Bags – cleaned, bailed and used for making decks, fences and outdoor furniture
• Tires and rubber products – cleaned, granulated and turned into mulch for playgrounds and garden beds
• Ink and toner cartridges – cleaned, refilled and resold
• Paint – reformulated into new paint
• Clothing – donated garments that are not sold in stores such as Goodwill Industries are sorted, bailed and sold as reusable clothing, converted into rags or remade into new clothing