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Reduce, reuse, recycle
Annual celebrations highlights benefits of recycling
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It isn’t always convenient, recycling.
It takes extra space in the kitchen for the bins and extra time for the trip to dump off the materials. It would be easier just to toss everything into the trash can and be done with it.
Easier, maybe, but not better.
 America Recycles Day, which takes place annually on and around Nov. 15, recognizes the benefits of recycling while providing an educational platform that helps raise awareness about the value of reducing, reusing and recycling – every day – throughout the year.
The observation is a national program of Keep America Beautiful, and is the only nationally-recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. Since its inception in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 to educate, promote environmental citizenship, and encourage action.
Locally, Sunflower Diversified Services sponsors an extensive recycling program, taking most household items that would otherwise wind up in the landfill. Speaking of the Barton County Landfill, it, too, recycles such stuff as paints, household chemicals, mattresses and other things only a facility like it can handle.
As for Sunflower, from January through June, it took in 570 tons of paper/fiber materials, 20 tons of glass and plastic (plastic accounting for 6 tons), and 13 tons of metal. That’s 603 tons of waste that didn’t wind up in the landfill. That’s more than the weight of a diesel locomotive.
 When material is recycled, it becomes something new and valuable. A plastic bottle can be recycled into new containers, T-shirts and fleece jackets, park benches, plastic lumber, and playground equipment. Glass is recycled into new containers and may be used in kitchen tiles, countertops, and wall insulation. Products such as structural sections and bridge spans use virtually 100 percent recycled steel.  The value lost by discarding packaging rather than recycling is estimated to be $11.4 billion, according to As You Sow.
This year’s America Recycles Day theme, “I Want To Be Recycled,” helps to educate people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental well-being and helps to motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.
During the 2013 America Recycles Day, there were more than 1,250 educational events; nearly 570 collection events; and even 80 tailgating recycling events at collegiate football games.
Dale Hogg