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November 9, 2010

MADISON -- Recycling has become a daily habit for many people in Wisconsin and for good reason—recycling works. For every can, bottle and newspaper we recycle, we are saving resources, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and creating jobs.

Recycling reduces the need for new materials and reduces emissions associated with mining and manufacturing. In 2008, the most recent year data is available, Wisconsin households recycled more than 735,000 tons of material. This amount reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide--the same amount that would be produced by 475,000 passenger cars.

But state Department of Natural Resources officials says Wisconsinites can still improve their recycling. Based on a 2009 study of materials landfilled in Wisconsin, state residents throw away more than $50 million in everyday recyclables like cardboard, paper, cans and bottles.

On Nov. 15, Wisconsin residents can celebrate all that recycling does by participating in America Recycles Day. The annual event encourages Americans to waste less, recycle more and purchase recycled products.

In honor of the day, here are 10 ways people can boost the amount of materials they and their family recycle:

  1. Compost food and yard debris. Suggestions on how to construct and maintain your own bin are on the DNR website.
  2. Remember to reuse. If you have clothing, furniture or other household items you no longer use, consider donating them to a local nonprofit or resale store.
  3. Take time to reacquaint yourself with your community's recycling program. Many communities have expanded the number of materials they collect and simplified the process for you to recycle. See [] (exit DNR) for a list of recyclables in your community.
  4. Recycle your electronics. E-Cycle Wisconsin, a new program run through the DNR, is making it easier to recycle electronics like TVs, computers, computer accessories.
  5. In addition to standard recyclables, find out what other products your recycling program accepts. Many communities have programs to recycle prescription pills, electronics, and other household hazardous wastes.
  6. In places you visit frequently—grocery store, workplace, gas station and others—ask whether they accept recycling. If not, ask them to put out a recycling bin for customer and employee use.
  7. Recycle construction and demolition debris. Several businesses across the state recycle or reuse shingles, construction lumber, lighting fixtures, drywall, concrete, glass and other construction materials.
  8. Talk to your kids about ways they can recycle at home and at school. Ideas on simple activities to teach kids about recycling can be found on the Wee Recyclers page of the DNR's EEK! Environmental Education for Kids website.
  9. Find businesses in your community that accept materials your local recycling program may not. The Wisconsin Recycling Markets Directory (exit DNR) allows you to search by material to find recyclers in your community.
  10. Be a thoughtful shopper. Look for products labeled with a high recycled content or that use "post-consumer" recycled materials, or buy products with minimal packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable.

Recycling is easy, and it makes a difference. More information on America Recycles Day, including a listing of events, is available on the website. The Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin is providing a list of America Recycles Day links and resources. See the AROW website [] (exit DNR) for more information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Kiefaber (608) 267-2463

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 09, 2010

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