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Nov. 6: Colorado harnesses the power of recycling

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Kate Lemon
Public Information Specialist
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division

Colorado harnesses the power of recycling

DENVER — In 2012, recycling and composting in Colorado saved enough energy to power 112,654 homes for a year. It eliminated enough carbon dioxide to equal the emissions from 348,370 cars. It saved 2.2 million barrels of oil.
“Recycling and composting reduces the waste sent to landfills, prolonging the life of our landfills and salvaging materials for beneficial reuse,” said Patrick Hamel, sustainability program manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Coloradans are recycling 10 percent more today than they were five years ago.”
Recycling and composting kept approximately 2.1 million tons of municipal solid waste from reaching landfills in the state in 2012. That’s more than 166,000 garbage truckloads, enough to fill two lanes of I-70 border-to-border and bumper-to-bumper and still have about 200 trucks left over.
Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, and Gov. John Hickenlooper has proclaimed it as a day to focus attention on the importance of recycling in Colorado. This year’s theme, “I Want to Be Recycled,” is designed to educate people about the economic importance of recycling and motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.  Colorado organizations hosting recycling events Nov. 15 are at http://www.americarecyclesday.org.
Hamel said, “The department’s Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity grant program has invested $7.1 million in the recycling infrastructure in Colorado. This has led to 171 new jobs in the industry since the program’s inception in 2008.”
Today, 34.7 percent of the nation’s waste is recycled. Increasing that percentage to 75 would create nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to a report by the Tellus Institute with Sound Resource Management.