Did you know that “what goes around, comes around”? That bottle or can that you throw on the pathway will come back to haunt you, either in your lakes or in the soil that produces your food. It is time for us to get serious about reusing the plastic, glass and metal that we purchase every day. We can do this-- just like it is done in so many countries around the world. Friends of Reston and Reston Association have set up a program where a person or a group can “Adopt a Bin” in the same manner that they can “Adopt a Bench”.
In the three years since the program began, I have been told that very few recycling bins have been “adopted”. Adopting a bin is advancing an effort that will help save the planet. Let’s look at statistics that show recycling is a serious business.
Help increase recycling in Reston’s recreation areas by making a donation to our “Adopt-A-Bin” program. Each bin is made of heavy duty, recycled plastic lumber and installed permanently in-ground. RA crews service the bins, taking items to the Fairfax County collection site. You or your company can sponsor the full cost of a bin with a $1,000 donation and, if desired, have your name or logo placed on a plaque on the bin that you adopt.
Send check donations, in any amount, to Friends of Reston, 11450 Glade Drive, Reston VA 20191 or click to “Donate Now” with a credit card. Please include a note at check out that your donation is for “recycling bins”. If you donation is $1,000 or more and you would like to select a particular location for your bin, e-mail CSFstaff@reston.org or call 703-437-7658.
The average adult in the U.S. generates 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste annually. This adds up to more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, generated by Americans alone. The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it. “Recycling is one of the most common of all environmentally beneficial activities. It is relatively simple, painless and a great way to protect habitat and save energy, water and resources such as trees and metal ores. By recycling metals, plastics and glass, you can help reduce the harmful impact associated with the extraction of the raw material used to make these resources, including greenhouse gas emissions, oil spills, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.”….. In 2009, Americans recycled 82 million tons of materials, and the resulting CO2 emissions reduction is equivalent to taking 39.6 million vehicles off the road. (Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Recycling one aluminum can could save enough energy to listen to a full album on your IPod. Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks. The amount of energy saved just from recycling cans in 2010 is equal to the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil. The pollutants created in producing one ton of aluminum include 3,290 pounds of red mud, 2,900 pounds of carbon dioxide, 81 pounds of pollutants and 789 pounds of solid waste. Aluminum cans have 68% recycle content and a recycled can might go back on the shelf as a new can in as few as 60 days. (2010 research from “Keep America Beautiful”)
Americans throw away about 28 billion glass bottles and jars every year. Over a ton of natural resources are conserved with every ton of glass recycled, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone and 160 pounds of feldspar. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to light a 100A light bulb for four hours, power a computer for 30 minutes, or a television for 20 minutes. A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days. (2009 research done by DoSomething.org)
Plastic water bottles are a huge issue on Reston pathways and trails, especially after fundraising walks, marathons and triathlons. NRDC reports that only 13 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled—unrecycled plastic becomes a big part of the huge trash problem in our lakes and thus in our waterways and oceans. Plastic trash will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050 unless the world takes drastic action to recycle the materials. If we could recycle and reuse our plastics they could become part of a far more efficient “circular economy”.
Let’s move into the 21st Century, where our progressive community can be lauded for another effort in helping to leave a beautiful earth for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.