Discarded plastic items await recycling (Photo: Shutterstock)
There is no magic place called “away” where our garbage goes. We learned this early on in grade school. My boyfriend’s 7-year-old cousin, Charlie, is an ardent recycler at his home and perhaps the finest example of what we all should be doing when it comes to our trash; he’s inquisitive, unrelenting and methodical.
We adults understand recycling and composting are cost-effective and efficient ways to fight climate change and provide a host of social and environmental benefits. And yet, when it comes to recycling, the old saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ goes for too many. The statistics are proof point. The EPA estimates that 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30 percent of it. And according to The Economist, this is far lower than most first-world countries.
The infographic below by ReuseThisBag.com breaks down our recycling woes and what’s at stake, like the health of our oceans. Used plastic dumped into the sea destroys sea life at an estimated 1,000,000 sea creatures per year.
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