While many Americans do recycle and compost diligently, there could be a more concerted effort throughout the country. When considering that the average person creates 4.5 pounds of trash a day, that amounts to roughly 1.5 tons over the course of a year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 75% of solid waste could be recycled. However, just 30% of these materials are actually recycled.
Greenhouse gases could also be reduced by composting rather than throwing away food. While not all types of food are suitable for composting, a large percentage are. On an annual basis, for example, the United States creates 21.5 million tons of food waste. If this was composted, it could reduce greenhouse gases to the degree that it would be like taking two million cars off of the country’s streets, roads, and highways.
America’s forests could also be preserved by recycling paper products, which includes printed materials. If even one-tenth of the newspapers read by Americans were recycled, it could save approximately 25 million trees every year. When even more newspapers, magazines, and other paper-based products were recycled, this could make a significant impact. Nearly 87 million tons of material was either recycled or composted during 2012, which did make a difference.
On an annual basis, research has shown that Americans continue to throw away 12 million tons of clothing and other types of textiles. The average person, for instance, will dispose of 82 pounds of these materials rather than donate them to a charitable organization. Recent data shows that Americans are only donating 15% of their used clothing, and the remaining 10.5 million tons ends up in the country’s landfills. It’s important to note that textiles actually have the lowest recycling rate for materials that can be reused.
When people do donate clothing to charitable organizations, however, approximately 80% of this is used to help those in need and to provide funding for these organizations. Every year, less than half of the two million tons of used clothing is worn again. The remainder is used for these purposes:
- Industrial rags: 30%
- Couch stuffing and home insulation: 20%
Fortunately, 95.4% of people in the United States do engage in some type of charitable giving. While some Americans may donate clothing and other items for charity pick up, others volunteer their time and expertise or make other types of donations.
Have you been looking for organizations that accept clothing donations? If you would like to donate to an organization that helps military families, then you may be prefer donating to The Military Order of the Purple Heart. This is also an organization that will pick up donations from your home. Once you have your items collected, all you need to do is contact them for a charity pick up. Since having a charity pick up makes it even more convenient to make donations, you may discover that you do so more often.