Global Recycling Day is observed every March 18 to emphasize the importance of the Earth-saving activity. On this day, people all over the world are encouraged to look at the items that usually just get thrown away, not as garbage, but as new resources.

The way we have been using the Earth's natural resources has led us to a path that threatens our planet's health. From pollution problems to climate change, it has increasingly become apparent that we need to make changes in order to protect our planet.

Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 as a United Nations-recognized observance to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and how we urgently need a "common, joined-up approach to recycling."

"Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources," the Global Recycling Foundation noted. "Each year the 'Seventh Resource' (recyclables) saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions and this is projected to increase to 1 billion tons by 2030. There is no doubt recycling is on the front line in the war to save the future of our planet and humanity."

On this day, let's look at some important facts about recycling. (Courtesy: the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Recycling Partnership, and the University of Southern Indiana).

  1. On average, people produce 4.4 pounds of solid waste a day. That's about a ton of trash per person each year.
  2. Manufacturing goods from recycled materials uses less energy than producing them using virgin materials. This means less fossil fuel use and less carbon dioxide emissions.
  3. It takes just about 60 days for an aluminum can to be recycled and used again. The material can also be recycled multiple times.
  4. In 2013, the diversion of 87.2 million tons of materials from landfills prevented 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the air. According to CU Boulder, that's like removing 39 million cars from the road for a year.
  5. "Typical" families consume 182 gallons of soda, 104 gallons of milk and 26 gallons of juice each year, USI noted. That amounts to a lot of containers that could be recycled.
  6. In 2018, the most recycled materials were corrugated boxes, mixed non-durable paper products, newspapers, lead-acid batteries, major appliances, wood packaging, glass containers, tires, mixed paper containers and packaging, and select consumer electronics, respectively, according to EPA.
  7. Recycled plastic containers can be used as new plastic containers, but they can also be used to make other things such as phone cases, rugs, clothes and playground equipment.
  8. In 2018, Americans recycled almost 94 million tons of waste, which is a significant increase compared to the past decades.
Representation. Pixabay-djedj