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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Do your part

Nov. 15, 2021 Updated Mon., Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:02 a.m.

Today is America Recycles Day. It’s a good time to reflect on how we all can help.

According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, less than 1 in 3 recyclable items is recycled. Roughly 29% of PET plastic, used for products like water bottles and food containers, is recycled. Less than 35% of aluminum is recycled. Cardboard shipping boxes are recycled at a 96.5 % rate.

A large part of our problem is that recycling is confusing. Some products with the chasing arrows recycling label can’t actually be recycled. Recycling centers take plastic products Nos. 1 or 2 (things like water and soda bottles) and, increasingly, No. 5. And too often those numbers are hard to read.

Want to make a difference? Find out what products your community recycling center allows. Not all centers accept glass or foam. But anything that can be recycled often is turned into a new use, from furniture to clothing or even road surfaces. All of those cut down on the need for landfills and garbage dumps. We can reduce unnecessary waste and protect our planet one informed person at a time. It only takes a commitment to be one of those persons.

James Bowers

Campaign for Recycling Awareness (

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