Goodwill Believes Recycling should be Everyday Action

Philanthropy

BY BOB ROSINSKY SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY NOV 12, 2016

While Americans represent just five percent of the world's population, our country is one of the top five producers of waste, generating approximately 30 percent of the world's garbage. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average person generates 4.4 pounds of waste per day, totaling about 1,606 pounds per year; in 2013, Americans generated about 254 tons of trash. Much of that waste ends up in one of the more than 1,900 solid waste landfills in the country and, in some regions, landfill capacity is becoming more limited.

The benefits of recycling are tremendous: it reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, prevents pollution, conserves natural resources (such as water, minerals, coal, gas and timber), saves energy and money, and reduces greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, while the EPA estimates that 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable, we only recycle about 30 percent of it.

Goodwill Industries International is proud of its partnership with Keep America Beautiful for America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day devoted to environmental citizenship and recycling. America Recycles Day takes place annually on November 15. Begun in 1997, America Recycles Day brings together thousands of communities across the country by calling on nonprofits, colleges and universities, government organizations and businesses to take a more active role in utilizing available recycling resources.

In the past three years, America Recycles Day has resulted in a total of 9.5 million pounds of recyclables collected at an average of 2,000 registered events each year. More than just a single-day event, America Recycles Day provides a chance to encourage family, friends, classmates and colleagues to recycle responsibly year round.

Locally, Goodwill Manasota is proud to be a leader of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" movement all year long. Our organization subsidizes our mission of changing lives through the power of work through the sale of unwanted goods donated by community members. In 2015, we diverted more than 41 million pounds of unwanted goods – including textiles, computers and components, books, glass, furniture, electrical items, plastic and metal – from area landfills.

Partnerships formed with numerous salvage companies and various other clothing and electronics stores, thrift shops, and bookstores not only keep junk out of landfills, they also generate additional revenue for the partners and Goodwill. Every item that is donated to Goodwill helps to fund job training programs and services in communities throughout our service area. And whatever is donated to Goodwill and can’t be sold is recycled.

We are always searching for innovative ways to transform our local economy and advance our mission. One of the most effective ways to have a large impact is through partnerships with local, like-minded companies; we are proud to work with organizations that have the same desire to operate in a more environmentally-friendly manner.

As America Recycles Day approaches, we urge our friends and neighbors to learn more and be more steadfast about recycling. Whether that means cleaning out your closets and donating clothing and unwanted home goods to Goodwill or another worthy local nonprofit, or making sure that your household’s discarded papers, plastic and glass are collected by Waste Management each week – and encouraging others to do the same – each and every one of us can make a positive impact on the environment.

I hope you will make a commitment to reduce your waste, recycle more, and buy more products made with recycled content. Future generations will thank you.

Bob Rosinsky is the president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota.

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