I was recently tasked with creating a Green Team at my host company, Hospice of Michigan. Our first task was to implement a recycling program which launched January 20th. Recycling has been on my mind a lot the past couple months which I guess is why this post is dedicated to the topic.
Some facts to emphasize the importance and impact of recycling:
- Over 75% of the world’s waste is recyclable but only 30% of it is actually recycled
- $500,000,000 worth of recyclable materials are buried in Michigan landfills each year
- Each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water
- Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours —equivalent of a ½ gallon of gasoline
- Recycling plastic saves 2x as much energy as burning it in an incinerator
- Energy saved from recycling 1 glass bottle can run a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours
- Each year over 375 million empty ink and toner cartridges are thrown away with most ending up in landfills or incinerators
Recycling is a real issue in Detroit. Most businesses don’t have a recycling program. A 2012 study by NextEnergy found that 402,000 tons of waste is generated by Detroiters every year — 34% goes into a landfill, 65% is incinerated, and only 0.5% is recycled! Some good news is the City of Detroit recently announced the start of a curbside recycling program. Residents will need to purchase a 64-gallon recycling cart for $25 in order to participate. For many Detroit residents, this is cost prohibited. If you’d like to help, please click here.
If you’re at a business in the metro Detroit area that currently doesn’t have a recycling program, PLEASE reach out to my friends at Green Living Science and join their Bee Green! Business education and certification program. Implementing a recycling program was a bit more challenging than I had originally anticipated but the staff at Green Living Science has been extremely helpful and provided me with numerous resources from signage to recycling service providers. Plus being certified as a Bee Green! Business is great PR.
If you’re interested in implementing a recycling program at your company (which after reading all these compelling facts, I know you are) feel free to contact me at Jennifer.Ehrhardt@challengedetroit.org. I leave you with this fun table showing what can be made from recycled materials verses how long these items take to decompose in a landfill.