One Green Thing: Speaking of trash (versus recycling)…

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Did you know it is estimated each person creates about a ton of trash per year? That adds up to 230 million tons…and that is somewhere around 1 billion 4-yard trash bins (the size of the ones behind many businesses).

Did you also know LESS THAN a quarter of this is recycled? Everything else goes to landfills or is incinerated.

The nice young man who helped me with my recyclables last week thinks we should add an educational component to every student’s education. He thinks a field trip visit to a landfill for them would help set the tone for their future treatment of their trash.

Just imagine how having more people recycling would change the future…think about the reduced demand on virgin materials…well, you understand where this is going.

It is easy, really; with a little forethought, we could reuse or recycle more than 70 percent of the landfill waste, including valuable materials such as glass, metal and paper. This would reduce the demand on virgin sources of these materials and many others. The varieties of items that can be recycled today are amazing. Just talk to Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful about how many cubic yards of metal, clothing and electronics they handled last year.

So, I just have to ask…remember that amount of trash that each of us creates in the United States every year? Have you recycled everything you can from your ton?

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the July 6-12, 2011, issue

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