America Recycles: Dispelling the ‘One Person Can’t Make a Difference’ Myth

recycle1Reducing waste and conserving resources is crucial to the longevity of the environment. Sadly, there are still millions of Americans that don’t take the time to recycle.

Did you know that fewer than 35% of households and 10% of businesses in the United States recycle? While there are many variable factors that play into this, sometimes the sheer enormity of a problem is what keeps people from taking small steps that could add up to make a big positive change.

This Friday is America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful. This national commemoration is the perfect opportunity to raise public awareness while encouraging action, because even one person can make a huge difference.

Goodwill of Orange County is a proud supporter of America Recycles Day. For over 100 years, environmental sustainability has been at the core of our mission. When you donate clothing and other goods and products to Goodwill, you not only reduce the burden on landfills by 95%, you also help provide revenue for Goodwill job training programs, employment placement services, and other important social services.

Many people don’t realize the many ways that recycling can positively impact their own community. In 2012 alone, Goodwill’s 22 community collection events helped divert nearly 44 million pounds of product from landfills. We offer this advice for America Recycles Day in hopes that occasional recyclers will become routine recyclers:

Make it simple

Breaking down your efforts into simple steps can help. To start, choose to recycle one item — whether it’s newspaper, aluminum or glass — for six months. After that time period, start recycling a second item that you use regularly until it becomes a habit. You can continue to add to your recycling efforts as they become part of your daily life.

Make it meaningful

Did you know that recycling one aluminum product saves enough energy to allow you to listen to a full music album on an iPod? Or, recycling 100 cans can light a room for two weeks? These seemingly small actions have a big impact!

It’s important to celebrate all the ways we collectively and individually protect the planet. Whether you donate regularly to Goodwill or take the time to recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans, you help dispel the myth that small acts aren’t important.

How do you plan to make a difference on America Recycles Day? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us at @OCGoodwill!

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