At IREP, I Recycle Everything Possible, We value recycling, supporting our local community, and helping people that share this world. We want to use this day to talk about recycling and DIY craft ideas to help save the world. Let’s turn this Earth Day into something celebrated year round!

recycling and its definition

It’s important to recycle, not just on Earth Day.

Recycling isn’t just about today; it’s about paving the way for a brighter future. By recycling now, we set a precedent for the younger generations, offering them a cleaner and more prosperous world. It takes effort, including research into what’s recyclable in your area, but it’s an investment in our planet’s health.

Landfills, while convenient, are not a sustainable solution. Imagine a world where trash mountains compete with natural ones in height. We certainly don’t want that.

You put in the work to find out what’s acceptable. For a deeper dive for Austin, TX, read our “To be, or Not to be Recycled? Right & Useful Ways” blog.

Earth Day 2021 recycling

Recycling limits waste.

The three Rs – “reduce, reuse, and repurpose” – are more than just a catchy slogan. They are the keys to managing waste effectively. Educating the younger generation about these principles ensures a legacy of environmental stewardship.

Moreover, increased waste results in the use of incinerators, which consume nonrenewable fossil fuels and can affect energy prices.

Recycling saves energy.

Conserving energy is not only essential for a sustainable future but also critical in light of the recent energy crisis. By reducing waste, we can contribute to a more stable energy supply and help control gas prices.

Recycling isn’t a fully automated process; it involves human effort to ensure machines run smoothly. Proper recycling practices are essential to keep the system operational.

Recycling creates jobs.

Creating more recycling jobs benefits individuals and the local economy. It’s a win-win situation compared to the limited employment opportunities in landfills.

Recycling reduces pollution.

The waste problem extends to pollution. A stark example is the infamous trash island in our oceans. By reducing waste, we can mitigate the effects of global warming and keep our environment clean. It’s a simple concept with significant benefits.

Recycling means buying less.

Recycling isn’t just about what we do with waste; it’s about buying less in the first place. Reusing items creatively, like turning bottles into plant pots or cans into bird feeders, not only reduces waste but also benefits your household economy.

DIY recycled bird feeders

Research behind recycling

At IREP, our commitment goes beyond words. We actively support the City of Austin’s mission to achieve zero waste. In 2005, Austin signed the Urban Environmental Accords to reach zero waste by 2040, setting a significant goal for the city. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality found that recycling creates economic benefits for the Texas economy, including job creation and economic growth.

Read our blog about EnviroSustain.


State/Local Level

In 2005, the City of Austin, Texas, signed the Urban Environmental Accords (PDF) which committed the city to achieve zero waste by 2040. In 2009, the city adopted the first Zero Waste Strategic Plan (PDF) in the state of Texas. The Zero Waste Strategic Plan indicated that the value of materials sent to landfill and lost to the local economy was over $40 million annually. We can help reach the goal and set a great example.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) found the recycling of municipal solid waste creates economic benefits for the Texas economy, with more than 17,000 person years of direct, indirect, and induced employment supported during 2015. The overall impact of recycling MSW on the Texas economy exceeded $3.3 billion. We can make that go up.

In 2019 the TCEQ also found that Texas has a landfill reserve capacity of 53 years. That means is we stay on the same track we are now, your kids, or children you know, will see that capacity reached early in their lifetime.

That percentage can increase the more we recycle. Do you really want to make it their problem? Or do you think they have better things to focus on than sorting through our waste issues?

National Level

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the annual amount of furnishings taken to a landfill rose from 7.6 million tons in 2005 to 9.69 million tons in 2015, and continues to accelerate at an alarming rate.

The data on the recovery of ferrous metals  estimates metals from shredded appliances to be 3.1 million tons in 2018, leaving 2.1 million tons of appliances to be landfilled. If we recycle one aluminum can, we save enough energy to run the TV for 3 hours. Depending on your usage, of course.

In 2003,130 million scrap tires were used as fuel (about 45% of all generated) — up from 25.9 million (10.7% of all generated) in 1991.

Advantages to using tires as fuel include: produce the same amount of energy as oil and 25% more than coal, ash residues may contain a lower heavy metals content than some coals, and it results in lower NOx emissions when compared to many US coals, particularly the high-sulfur ones. Following this can give us more ways to create new energy in place of fossil fuels.

If the US cuts 40 million newspapers, and they all get thrown into the landfill, then that is approximately half a million trees destroyed only to be wasted. Paper piling up can also emit toxic gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, which reduces your quality of air. Remember, you can’t recycle shredded paper, but paper in any form can be composted.

According to the Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study, in a single year, recycling created 757,000 jobs, which account for $36.6 billion in wages. For every 1000 tons of waste recycled, 1.57 jobs are created, and $76,000 wages are made. Why not increase jobs on a national scale?

recycled can bird feeders

DIY advice for recycling

One of the best and easiest ways to recycle is to make it fun for the whole family. Do crafts at home. It can be exciting for children, and at the same time they can learn the value in recycling through creative means.

Below are ideas on recycling various items, as well as links to other articles describing hundreds of projects to satisfy your family. Turn it into an Earth Day tradition!

Bottles Plastic bottles can be used for planting, ornaments, décor, piggy banks, and much more. Glass bottles can be used the same, but a really cool idea is turning them into torches. You never know when you may lose power for days. Then, you won’t have to worry about batteries for lights. If we can create more hemp plastics, that will save us so many more problems with disposing.

diy recycle glass bottles

Keys – Old keys can be used as ornaments, necklaces, wind chimes, or even markers in your garden. Perhaps it’s your garden created from bottles. It’s an interesting usage that requires some painting beforehand to let it stand out. Perfect project for a kid while the adults do the hard work.

DIY key recycling idea for garden

Trampoline – If you’ve had enough of your trampoline, instead of taking it apart and disposing of it, it can be turned into a dog kennel, or a chicken coop. A fantastic idea would be making a swing for your patio, or back yard. Who can resist hammock type resting?

trampoline DIY recycling

Cardboard rolls – These are great for holiday crafts. You can make ornaments, jewelry, or characters to fit an occasion. If you use other compostable materials, you will be able to compost the whole project when needed. That way you save waste completely.

Halloween recycled DIY ideas for kids toilet paper rolls

Keurig cups – We use so many of these nowadays. If you haven’t bought reusable cups, or not able to do that at the office, then you can save the cups and use them as small planters (coffee grounds are great in soil too0! Use them to hold small items as you craft up things, or color them and put them in the toy room for kids to use as building blocks. If you play card games, they can lead a helping hand there too.

DIY recycle recycling idea for plastic kerig cups

There are several articles that provide options for fifteen, hundreds, or thousands of recycled DIY projects for you to start implementing this weekend! We may not be able to eliminate all waste, but we can at least try, or lengthen the amount of years until we reach landfill capacity.

The less capacity, the more we will pollute and open up landfills to take up much more space. Nature will always find a way to survive. Even if that means eliminating the source of the problem. Let’s save the Earth, and ourselves.


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