Sunday is Recycling Day
America Recycles Day is Nov. 15, and this year's theme is "It All Comes Back To You."
The Watauga County recycling office is focusing on raising awareness of the plastic-bottle ban, which was adopted by the General Assembly and took effect Oct. 1. With many types of plastic bottles now mandated for recycling, officials are trying to make it easier for consumers to add to the collection.
Recycling coordinator Lisa Doty said a local committee has been looking for ways to make recycling more convenient, particularly targeting students who live off campus and in apartment complexes that might not have room for more collection containers.
Doty said the county had already received more plastic because of the ban, though she won't have statistics until later in the year. The Town of Boone recently added a new collection site on Horn in the West Drive.
"We're working with schools right now," Doty said. "Schools are already recycling paper, but I'm trying to write a comprehensive grant to get schools on board with recycling plastic and cans."
Doty encourages people to sign an online pledge at http://www.americarecyclesday.org to commit to recycling. America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled content products.
Those that pledge will be entered to win recycled content prize packs. Select prizes include a fire pit made from recycled steel, a pet bed made from recycled plastic bottles and a soaker hose and welcome mat made from recycled tires.
This year's theme of "It All Comes Back To You" represents multiple messages: a recycled product or material can return to consumers as another new product; recycling comes back to consumers as an improved environment, preservation of resources and economic well-being of the country; and that it's everyone's responsibility to recycle.
Doty said recycling creates 39,000 jobs a year, and local plastics go from the recycling bin to various brokers who ship the material to manufacturers and processors. Local plastic is used for nursery containers to hold plants, corrugated plastic pipe, and food-grade containers. A plant in Spartanburg, S.C., converts 130 million pounds of plastic bottles a year back into new bottles.
Recycled materials also become construction products such as insulation, carpeting, floor tiles, shingles, and landscaping timbers. In the office, your recycled bottles may show up in waste baskets, clipboards, binders and furniture. Vehicle parts, traffic cones, park benches, plastic fencing and other goods are made from reclaimed plastics.
Before the ban, fewer than one in five plastic bottles were recycled. Watauga County ranked 14th in the state in 2007-08 in the amount of plastics recycled per capita, at 6.78 pounds. The average North Carolina per-capita collection is 3.8 pounds.