Recycling in America has become much more than a simple act of separating one's bottles and cans from the rest of the household waste. Along with replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, recycling has—like it or not—come to represent the quintessential individual action of the environmental movement. And as global demand for raw materials continues to climb, recycling has also come to mean big business.
Though it may have passed you by, November 15th was the 11th annual America Recycles Day and in observance I've picked out a few links that celebrate, inform, explain and even decry the rite of recycling in America.
This month's Popular Mechanics has several good pieces about recycling including a debunking of the 5 myths of recycling as well as a straight forward look at recycling by the numbers. There is also a clever animation at Celsias explaining exactly how recycling works.
In The New York Times there is an excellent piece about an electronic recycling or "e-waste" facility in New York that, despite the economic downturn, has no shortage of business. In fact, the facility is looking to expand, buy new equipment, hire more people and run the massive shredder even more often.
Finally, my colleague at Green Options, Jeff McIntire-Strasburg has a different take on the third leg of the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra and vows to make 5 recycling resolutions. Jeff writes: "I do think we tend to approach the act of recycling as a sign of virtue. I don't know that this is always the best way to get more people not only separating out waste paper and aluminum cans from the "trash," but also thinking about the impact of their consumption choices."
Image: pomme_rewny via flickr under a Creative Commons License