Thursday, September 3, 2009

My New Recycling Venture!

This morning I woke up and was so excited to go to our first MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting for the year! I absolutely LOVE the 2.5 hours I am able to spend in fellowship with other moms going through the same stage in their lives as I am. The one thing I look forward to the most, other than the fellowship of course, is the speaker. At every meeting we have a speaker come and talk to us about a specific topic. Well, our theme for the year is "Life on Planet Mom," so we thought that it would be a great idea to start out the year talking about how we can be more enviornmentally friendly by recycling. This is one meeting that I needed to hear because as horrible as it sounds, I am not a recycler. But, after today's speaker I have decided that I am going to get my family on a recycling system! We are going to recycle aluminum cans, paper, and plastic bottles. Plus, we are going to start to become more conscious about the amount of energy we are using just in water.

For instance, did you know that the average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of 2 gallons per minute? This means that if we would just turn off the water while we brush our teeth in the morning and at night, we would save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month? Or, how about the fact that by letting your faucet run for 5 minutes, you will be using about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours! My husband will just be tickled pink to find out that I have finally crossed over to his way of thinking in this area.

One of the bad habits I have is that I love a nice cold can of Pepsi. Some people have chocolate...I have Pepsi! I don't care how healthy you claim to be, we all have a secret indulgence. Some are just unhealthier than others. Anyways...back to the subject...recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV fo 2 hours! Did you know that Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our ENTIRE commercial air fleet! Now come on people, seriously? Our ENTIRE commercial air fleet?! Wow. Now consider this, the energy saved from recycling 1 ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years!! Now do you see why I'm going to start recycling those pop cans? Also, in most communities there is a place where you can take aluminum cans and get paid for them - so you will be getting some money back. I think I may just conduct my own little experiment and save all of the aluminum cans my family goes through for a year and see how much money we get back for recycling them!

Before I became a stay-at-home-mommy, I worked as a paralegal for 3 years. Any of you out there who are familiar with the legal field know that there is an extraordinary amount of paper involved in it. Even though I stay home now, I still feel the need to have a paper trail for everything so I end up printing off a lot of unnecessary stuff. I also like to shred anything and everything that has any of my information on it - even if it is just my name and address. This is something else I acquired from working in the legal field. Probably once a month or so I empty the shredder and toss it in with the rest of the trash. I knew that you could recycle newspapers, but I really didn't think about all the other paper we can recycle, such as books, magazines, junk mail, and even shredded paper. I know all of you professional recyclers out there are just shaking your head at me in disbelief. I'm sorry - I really just had no idea!

But today I learned that recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity - which is enough to power the average American home for 5 months!! Not only that, but recycling paper instead of making it from new materials generates 74% less air pollution and uses 50% less water! I am really getting excited about this recycling business - and am now embarrassed just looking into my shredder and trash can right here in the office, they are both overflowing with all kinds of paper! In fact, out of everything that I'm going to start recycling, I know that the majority recycled will be paper! It's exciting though, because recycled paper can be turned into so many other things such as paper towels, envelopes, notebook paper, boxes, molded packaging, compost and even kitty litter!!

The last thing I'm going to start recycling are our plastic bottles. Just the #1s and #2s. Again, I'm a newbie to all this and had no idea until today that there is a number on the bottom of all the plastic bottles identifying the specific grade of plastic it is. The #1s and #2s are just your basic juice bottles, water bottles, milk jugs, ketchup bottles, etc... I was absolutely shocked to learn that Americans go through 25 billion plastic bottles every YEAR! The upside is that if every American household would recycle 1 out of every 10 HDPE bottles they use, we would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills every year!

I honestly just cannot believe that I have been in the dark for so long about the benefits of recycling. One last fact for you guys, Americans make up 5% of the world's population, but we produce 40% of the world's trash! Isn't that sad? I encourage all of you to start recycling at your house. You don't have to go all out and start your own compost or anything, but maybe just start by keeping a bin to recycle all your paper in - or if you like pop like me, have a separate bin for your aluminum cans.

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do." ~Helen Keller
**While the above recycling facts were discussed at our meeting today, I found found them at


The McMahan's said...

Wow you sure are taking up this blog thing! I just don't have the energy. LOL I have a blog that I haven't updated since Feb. LOL I love your idea of recycling. Are city actually has a program they are doing and gave every house a big trash bin (light Blue instead of navy)to put all our recycling in. When they come to dump it we actually get points to go to a website and get gift certificates to certian places. The bin has a chip installed in it. Its pretty cool. We have a plastic bin (the ones the you see for garage storage). Its about 2'wide x3'length x2' deep that we keepin our pantry and put all of our recyclable stuff in. Once you get the hang of it it actually saves you alot of trash bags.

DelRae said...

Yeah, I've always enjoyed writing and so blogging was a perfect solution once I got the hang of it! :)

That's a great way to get people interested in recycling! Too bad there isn't a program like that around here. I am actually looking forward to saving money on trash bags - not to mention all the space that I'll save IN my trash can!

Dee said...

You really made me stop and think about all the waste and garbage I just throw in with the regular garbage for the trash man. My husband drinks Diet Dew and will fill up a tall kitchen garbage can in 2-3 days with his empty 2 liter bottles. I'm like you with the paper trail. I do recycle books but I do it by passing them on so someone else can enjoy reading them.

We went to Yellowstone a few years ago. The walkways around the geysers like Old Faithful are made from recycled soda bottles. Imagine a walkway that looks like wood, can withstand the heat of the ground underneath it and support who knows how many people walking on it at one time not to mention the bison that happen that way is made of the plastic soda bottles we throw away.

DelRae said...

I'm glad it got you thinking! I am also one who prefers to pass books on to friends instead of throwing them out. Isn't it amazing all the things that our trash can be recycled into?