What Kind of Difference Do You Want to Make?
National Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22. This annual day is held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Learn more about the history of Earth Day here. In celebration of Earth Day, which is Friday, April 22 this year, we recently had a chance to visit and tour local business ZARC Recycling.
Before we introduce you to ZARC, let’s first start with Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) 101:
MSW, more commonly known as trash or garbage, consists of everyday items we use and then throw away, such a product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, paint, and batteries. This comes from our homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses.
In 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.3 percent recycling rate. On average, we recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of our individual waste generation of 4.40 pounds per person per day. Wow! Do we really, on an individual basis, generate over four pounds of waste a day?
Good news is, recycling and composting prevented 87.2 million tons of material away from being disposed of in 2013, up from 15 million tons in 1980. This prevented the release of approximately 186 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the air in 2013 – equivalent to taking over 39 million cars off the road for a year.
Learn more about how common wastes and materials, including food and yard wastes, paper, metals, and electronics, contribute to the MSW generation and how to recycle them.
“Recycling is Infinite”
For a list of everything they accept, click here.
Talking with Dat Phan, the manager at Zarc Recycling, he said on a daily basis, they recycle about four tons (8,000 pounds!) of scrap metal a day, which is equivalent to about four to five bins. On an annual basis, they recycle the following:
- Metals/Electronic Waste Recycled = 12.3 million pounds
- CRV (Cans, Plastic Bottles, Glass Bottles) Recycled = 700,000 pounds
- Total Materials Recycled = 13 million pounds
The five biggest components of waste, taking up to 77 percent of the total waste stream, are:
- Paper and paperboard
- Yard trimmings
- Food waste
Six simple ways you can reduce the amount of trash you create:
- Bring your reusable cloth bag to purchase groceries. If you forget, insist on paper, and pack as many goods in one bag as possible, without double bagging.
- Buy products in bulk.
- Switch to paperless statements. Have paper statements that are normally mailed to you – such as bills, financial statements, newsletters, etc. – e-mailed to you instead.
- Buy products that are packaged in cardboard or paperboard instead of Styrofoam.
- Avoid disposable items such as paper plates, cups, and utensils.
- Opt for reusable gift bags instead of wrapping paper – or maybe even reuse wrapping paper.
Zarc is located at 26 South Linden Avenue, South San Francisco, 650.871.7327, zarcrecycling.com
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall