Recycling: Here's what it all means

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Barbara Woods and Greg Lowe follow the pick-up team and scan the neighborhood bins to collect data such as participation rate. Currently the participation rate across the county is 62 percent.

As the new countywide single stream and curbside recycling programs are nearing their second month, one can't help but wonder what it all means.

The recycling is picked up and carted away and/or taken to the convenience centers and added to the single stream bins. We put less in the landfill. New things are made from old things. But how does this equate to "saving the environment?"

Analogies have always been a great way to reframe a situation to fit what the brain is expecting to learn, so I went to Morgan Thomas, Marshall County Solid Waste director and asked, "What does it all mean?" He gave me information that I could wrap my brain around, equating recycling to saving the environment. The information is as follows:

We have collected 103,580 pounds of recycling, which is equal to the weight of nine male elephants.

Trees used to make an equal amount of paper were not cut, saving 880 trees (which, by the way, grow for 12 years before harvest).

Energy saved in the process of manufacturing equals the amount of energy used to power 106 homes for one month.

Reduction of air pollution by 3,107....Pick up a copy of today's edition, Wednesday, June 18, 2008, for entire story.