Op-Ed: Why Everyone Needs Reliable Recycling Information

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According to a new Earth911.com report, recycling density simply based on distance is greater than we may think. Image: Earth911, Inc.

Isn’t it a shame that the U.S. recycling rate has only risen 5.5 percent in the last decade? A new U.S. EPA report is due to arrive soon that will cover data from 2011, and we’ve got fingers crossed for improved numbers. But the fact still remains that recycling could use a boost here at home.

According to the EPA, 30 percent of the country does not have access to curbside recycling, and a recent Earth911 report highlights that “for those that do have curbside, materials accepted are limited to those with the most commodity value, which itself is subject to local conditions.”

Almost everyone wants access to more sustainable options when it comes to their time and dollars. A 2009 report by Grail Research shows that 93 percent of consumers feel that a company being green is important to their purchase decisions. And while not everyone has the funds for a new hybrid car or solar panels on their roof, recycling is something that almost anyone can do in one way or another.

The first step to jumping the gap between where we are and where we want to be is simply making accurate recycling information more available to everyone. Earth911′s Recycling Directory hosts more than 1.5 million recycling opportunities for people to search for free every day – but having all that data in one place won’t quite do it. It has to be shared.

The Recycle.me Recycling and Disposal Information Source is an example created by Earth911 of how to do just this – simply plug and play this information where consumers are coming already, and bring recycling to them. Web properties and companies such as MyLowe’s and Castrol are already utilizing Earth911′s data to help more people find recycling opportunities where they live, both on and off the curb. And we want more companies and organizations to follow their lead.

Recycling should be a part of every element of our daily lives, and by integrating it into the products and sites people utilize most, we can get there. Looking at the map above, there’s a strong probability that more recycling exists nearby than most might think – if they only know where and how to look.

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