Most U.S. citizens agree that it is important to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Recycling helps us do that by saving energy and reusing valuable resources.
Manufacturing with recycled materials, with very few exceptions, saves energy and water and produces less air and water pollution than manufacturing with virgin materials. It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials. Making recycled steel saves 60%, recycled newspapers 40%, recycled plastics 70%, and recycled glass 40%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Individuals also can help America save energy by recycling motor oil. Motor oil does not wear out–it simply gets dirty. It can be used again and again. Americans throw away enough used motor oil every year to fill 120 super-tankers and it could all be recycled. It takes 42 gallons of high quality crude oil to produce 2-1/2 quarts of motor oil; it only takes 1 gallon of waste oil to produce the same amount. Recycle your used motor oil at Pep Boys, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, Texaco Full Service Stations, Wal-Mart Automotive Centers, Auto Zone or other automotive service centers. Used motor oil contains heavy metals from your car’s engine and should never be allowed to flow into storm drains.
Traci Phillips, president of the Oklahoma Recycling Association (OKRA), recommends carrying a reusable cup to save energy. “Americans produce enough Styrofoam cups each year to circle the earth 426 times. That’s one hundred cups per person per year,” notes Ms. Phillips. “These cups are made from petroleum products, a non-renewable resource.”
OKRA is a proponent of America Recycles Day, a nationwide public education and outreach campaign celebrated every year on November 15 and aimed at focusing attention on the importance of recycling and buying recycled products.
For recycling to be successful, recyclable materials must be processed into new products, and those products must be purchased and used. Many bottles, cans, paper wrappings, bags, cereal boxes, and other cartons and packages are made from recycled materials. Look for items in packages and containers made from post-consumer recycled content for maximum effectiveness.