Our Program for January 21st was “The Truth behind the Recycling Crisis and Proven Solutions to Fix It” presented by Aimee Lee and Eileen Elliot.  The Problem is the inconsistent labels on bins are causing public confusion about recycling and resulting in millions of tons of garbage being thrown in recycling bins.  Garbage thrown in recycling bins is causing a crisis for recycling in the U.S.  Mitch Headlund started the non-profit foundation Recycling Across America to seek a common labeling solution through standardizing the labeling of recyclables.   According to Aimee the good news is that the non-profit society-wide standardized labels for bins are the #1 solution to help people recycle properly and therefore the standardized labels are the #1 solution to fix U.S. recycling.  The standardized labels are proven to increase recycling levels 50-400%.  Without exception, recycling is the top action society can do to simultaneously improve: the environment, the economy, sustainable manufacturing and to prevent waste from going into oceans.
Recycling is in a crisis in the U.S. due to public confusion about recycling.  Aimee explained that by standardizing the labeling of refuse we not only protect the environment but it is also good for the economy.  Recycling is a $200 billion industry in the U.S. and can generates 7-10 more jobs that landfills and waste to energy plants.  Recycling properly creates valuable resources for U.S. manufacturing and can become a highly valuable export to countries such as China and India.  Recycling conserves finite natural resources - this is critical as ​population continues to grow exponentially Recycling conserves fresh water up to 95% in the mining and manufacturing process for many materials.  Recycling also prevents waste from going into oceans - it is proven, when there is a strong recycling culture, there is less litter and less waste going into ocean  and can protects forests which help to reduce CO2 emissions.
Recycling Across America is currently working with bills in both houses of Congress to achieve standardized labeling to alleviate the current crisis in recycling and Rotarians are urged to contact their governmental representative to get behind this legislative solution to the recycling dilemma in America.