In 2005, the United States generated 246 million tons of trash, and of that, 79 million tons was recycled. Hold your applause: That amount has increased only slightly since 2000. And a recent federal report concluded that the nation won't meet the Environmental Protection Agency's goal of recycling 35 percent of all U.S. municipal trash by 2008. (Current estimates put it at 29-31 percent.) Before generating your 1,600 pounds of trash this year—the average amount per American—consider purchasing items with little packaging and buy in bulk when possible. Use canvas bags instead of paper or plastic. If you live in an area without curbside recycling, contact your elected officials about providing that service.
Local recycling resources
- Durham City: www.ci.durham.nc.us/departments/solid/recycle_index.cfm
- Durham County: 560-0430
- Raleigh: www.raleigh-nc.org (click on "Services")
- Wake County: www.wakegov.com/recycling/default.htm
- Orange County, including Chapel Hill and Carrboro: www.co.orange.nc.us/recycling