Mission: Recycle
Close the loop!

Have you ever thought about where your homework paper goes when you are finished with the assignment? Do you simply throw that paper away? Or have you ever thought about what ever happens to the old toys when you out grew them? Did you throw them away too when you cleaned out your room? What happens to the millions and millions of tons of waste thrown out by people every day? Well, all that trash is picked up from your house or school and taken to a landfill - A landfill that used to be part of nature's landscape. A landfill that sometimes, if old, seeps toxic waste into nearby water tables. A landfill that entombs a mountain of waste - unless, of course, if you recycle.


A recent publication by the American Forest and Paper Association showed that "recycling helps conserve natural resources, reduce litter and save landfill space...fortunately, Americans recycle much more paper than we send to landfills." And while over the past few years, the activity of recycling has been increasing, (in 1997 alone nearly 61 million tons of material did not end up in a landfill but was instead recycled), the act of recycling is just part of the picture for the entire recycling process.

According to Melissa Poe, the founder of Kids For A Clean Environment and current spokesperson for the 100% Recycled Paperboard Association, "Any student knows that you don't get an A on a term paper if you turn in the term paper half finished. Americans would never have walked on the moon if they turned the spaceship around half the way there. That's why it is so important to complete the recycling process - to not just recycle but to also reduce, reuse, and purchase recycled products as well as products packed in recycled materials!" This is the concept of the "little r & r" program which has an emphasis on closing the recycling loop by purchasing products made from recycled materials such as paper. "This is a very important step," explains Melissa, "because you can recycle all day long but unless someone is putting to use the material you recycled then it is just going to sit there until it is eventually thrown away. "Closing the recycling loop is very simple. First, you can recycle items from your home or school such as your school papers and your aluminum soda cans. You can also reuse items. Look for ways that you can reuse things around your home, for example, an old milk carton can be cut up to make an outdoor bird feeder. And when you are shopping or helping your parents shop, look for and show them the "chasing arrows" recycling symbol. This symbol has been created by the paper industry to help you identify the 100% recycled paperboard products and packaging.

Remember, just because you throw something away doesn't mean it has gone away. You have just moved it to a different location! So put it to good use, recycle it instead!

As the national spokesperson for the 100% Recycled Paperboard Association, Melissa Poe is encouraging everyone to complete the Recycling circle by purchasing goods made and packed in recycled materials.

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