Resource Conservation in the Community Program Bulletin
The purpose of GFWC’s Resource Conservation Program is to educate and enhance members’ awareness of the importance of preserving the earth’s natural resources by urging and stimulating citizen action in addressing these concerns.
November 15 is America Recycles Day! Here is what you can do:
- Contact National Recycling Coalition to get a media kit to help with your kickoff to celebrate America Recycle Day.
- Check the Recycle America website to see if there is already an event in your community or area.. Contact event organizers to see how you can help.
Updates to the Resource Conservation Program outline in the 2008-2010 GFWC Club Manual:
What can you recycle in your area?
- If your area does not have a recycling program, use the Conservation in the Community Program and GFWC Resolutions to support a request to your local government.
- Remember to educate everyone, including your club! Tell fellow members about your idea for a recycling program or project. Set some goals and follow through.
- Borrow a great idea! One county in Maryland has a program called “Reach the 50/50 Challenge. They have set a goal to recycle 50 percent of their trash to reduce pollution, save energy, keep the environment more beautiful, and become better caretakers for the earth.
Many people say recycling is just common sense.
- In pre-industrial times, scrap made of bronze and other precious metals was collected in Europe and melted down for perpetual re-use; in Britain dust and ash from wood and coal fires was “down cycled” as a base material in brick making.
- Paper recycling began in Britain in 1921, when the British Waste Paper Association was established to encourage trade-in waste paper recycling.
- Before the 1920s, 70 percent of U.S. cities had programs to recycle specific items.
- During World War II, industry recycled and reused about 25 percent of the waste produced by Americans. Resource shortages caused by the world wars, as well as other such world-changing occurrences, greatly encouraged recycling.
- Resource conservation programs established during WWII were continued in some countries without an abundance of natural resources, such as Japan, after the war ended.
- In the 1970s, rising energy costs led to further recycling efforts. Recycling aluminum uses only 5 percent of the energy required by virgin production to create new aluminum; glass, paper, and metals have less dramatic but very significant energy savings when recycled feedstock is used.
- The Clean Water Act of 1977 created strong demand for bleached paper (office paper whose fiber has already been bleached white increased in value as water effluent became more expensive).
- Today there is an active interest and business geared to recycling--we are composting and recycling up to 33 percent of household and industrial waste.
- Americans make a choice between throwing trash in the trash can or recycling can. Much of our trash could be recycled. We are filling up landfills with valuable recyclables!
Unfortunately, the average American discards about 4.6 pounds of waste every day. Recycling is one easy way to slow global warming and effect climate change.
Encourage your club members to:
- Start putting more recycling containers throughout their homes. Put them in bathrooms, garage, office, laundry, kitchen, and more.
- Change some trash containers to recycle containers.
Members will start to notice their recyclables outweighing their trash.
Aside from just cans and newspapers, consider recycling:
- Magazines, phone books, and catalogs
- Office and school supplies
- Food, cereal boxes, and other product packaging
- Hard and soft cover books (unless you can swap these with a friend)
- Shoe boxes
- Junk mail
We can recycle more than just paper products:
- Detergent bottles
- Bathroom products like: shampoo/conditioner bottles, contact lens solution bottles, lotion bottles, shower gel bottles, etc.
- Pet food containers
- Baby food jars
Does your place of work have a recycling program?
- Although computers have become more prevalent in the workplace, we still use and waste a lot of paper.
- If you have no recycling program in your office, talk to your supervisor to initiate a program. Or, if you have a small office, suggest that co-workers take recyclables home.
When you are out and about, shopping, traveling, or just being busy, you can:
- Carry reusable shopping bags in your car to use when you go shopping; avoid using new bags every time.
- Pick up pet waste and discard it properly; consider using biodegradable bags for doggie waste.
- Contact the management of parks, malls, and other places that you visit to encourage them to start a recycling program.
Recycle old computers, phones, and electronics. For information see:
Shopping Bags Anyone?
- Buy the GFWC “Hats, Gloves, and Bags” Tote Bag—it’s perfect for sustainable shopping! You can order it from the GFWC Marketplace.
- Design a recyclable shopping bag. Be sure to put the GFWC logo on it along with the website, www.GFWC.org. You can use your shopping bags anywhere; it doesn’t have to be the grocery store. This is a Conservation and Membership tool!
Provide new program resources and newly available resource materials! National Geographic sponsors a website on how to be “green,” www.TheGreenGuide.com.
Preventing junk mail is a great way to conserve. Estimates suggest 19 billion catalogs are mailed each year, at the cost of 53 million trees and 5.2 tons of carbon emissions.
When your club observes America Recycles Day on November 15, remember the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
- Reduce: purchase fewer items that will eventually be thrown away.
- Reuse: use something again, often for a different purpose, and as an alternative to throwing it out.
- Recycle: save or collect used or waste materials for reprocessing into something useful.
No matter how you and your club decide to celebrate America Recycles Day, remember to report your activities to GFWC.
—Carol Waters (N.H.), GFWC Conservation in the Community Program Chairman