Cumberland County students helped celebrate America Recycles Day, observed Nov. 15, with a poster contest sponsored by the Cumberland County Solid Waste Department. 

This annual celebration encourages Americans to recycle and purchase products made from recycled materials. Winners of the contest received a T-shirt, mask, reusable grocery bag and coupons for ice cream at McDonald’s.

Recycling benefits the environment by reducing the waste that ends up in a landfill, conserving raw materials, reducing energy consumption and reducing county disposal costs. Landfills in Tennessee are quickly filling up and managing garbage will become increasingly costly for communities.

Learning why, how and what to recycle can help you make recycling sense and reduce your garbage.

Recycling is a habit households can easily develop. Take time to ensure materials are recycled instead of having to be discarded due to contamination from food waste, grease and other materials. 

You can recycle paper, cardboard, metal and plastic using the single-stream recycling bins at the Cumberland County convenience centers. Glass can also be recycled by placing glass items in the appropriate bin.

Materials should be clean and dry. Food waste cannot be accepted. 

Plastic is the most confusing item to recycle. The numbers on the bottom of the container are sometimes difficult to read. Some counties are unable to recycle any plastics. Others can only recycle #1 and #2 plastics. Plastic #1 consists primarily of beverage bottles. Plastic #2 is bottles such as shampoo or detergent. 

While plastic bags are labeled as #2, the county is unable to recycle them. These should be taken to area grocery stores, such as Walmart and Kroger.

If you are in doubt if something can be recycled, throw it in the garbage instead. 

Other materials that can be recycled include used oil, antifreeze, cooking oil, fluorescent bulbs, batteries and electronics. Check with convenience center staff for where to place these items.

Recycle clothing and furniture at area thrift stores. 

The energy saved from recycling adds up. The America Recycles Day website says recycling one tin can can power a TV for three hours. Energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a computer for 25 minutes. Energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle can power a 60-watt light bulb for three hours.

National Geographic reports that each person in the United States throws away 64 tons of waste into the landfill during their lifetime. Recycling can reduce that by half. 

Recycling makes sense. Email csmith@cumberlandcountytn.gov for more information.

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