155-i .1. "'   *-
^v' i^?*' --^i^*"v
-%^*^*w-. >.^-i^
                 The Resource Conservation Challenge
                 Campaigning Against
                 Waste
                                                                WHAT CAN YOU
                                                                SAVE TOEAY?
                                                                S  M T  W T F S
                                                               RESOURCE CONSERVATION
                                                               CHALLENGE
      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is challenging everyone to
      rejoin the fight against waste. Although the United States reached a
      national recycling rate of 30 percent in 2000, our goal is to meet or beat a
 35 percent national recycling rate by 2005.

 We are conducting an intense campaign to educate and inform Americans
 about waste's tremendous impact on resource and energy use, greenhouse gas
 emissions, and pollution. We're asking everyone-businesses and consumers
 alike-to take steps to reduce our impact on the environment by changing the
 way we do business and live our lives. By committing ourselves to reduce more
 waste, to reuse and recycle more products, and to buy more recycled and recy-
 clable products, we can conserve natural resources and save energy. The best
 part of all is that it only requires each of us to lose one pound.

 Let's Tend Our Environment
 Accepting responsibility for improving our environment means changing our habits,
 processes, and practices. This is called environmental-or product-stewardship. The
 concept is simple: Everyone has a role. Businesses, consumers, and governments
 work together to make changes across the whole supply chain-from better product
 design to easier product reuse and recyclability. Manufacturers can make products
 less toxic and more recyclable and prevent and recycle waste. Individuals and busi-
 nesses can change their buying and disposal habits. Our goals are to:
   Adopt a resource conservation ethic;
   Operate more efficiently and purchase more wisely; and
   Make and use more environmentally sound products.
We are not only campaigning to educate consumers and businesses about environ-
mental stewardship and its goals, but we also are supporting efforts to help achieve
those goals.
Let's Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
We want to help everyone better understand the
environmental ramifications of our collective actions.
When we see how our purchasing and manufacturing
decisions are connected to the environment, we can
make better choices that result in increased recycling,
less waste, more economic growth, and tremendous
energy savings.
                                                                 In 2000, the national
                                                                 recycling rate of 30
                                                                 percent saved the equiva-
                                                                 lent of more than 5 billion
                                                                 gallons of gasoline, reduc-
                                                                 ing dependence on foreign
                                                                 oil by 114 million barrels.
  Printed on paper that contains at least 30 percent postconsumer fiber.

-------
Recycling:
 Conserves natural resources

 Reduces greenhouse gas emissions

 Preserves ecosystems

 Saves energy

 Means business
                                  Recycling has environmental benefits at every
                                  stage in the life cycle of a consumer product-
                                  from the raw material it's made with to its final
                                  method of disposal. Think about all the products
                                  and energy we waste when materials go into
                                  landfills. In the case of aluminum, for example,
                                  we throw away enough every three months in
                                  the United States to rebuild our entire commer-
                                  cial air fleet. The amount of energy required to
put one ton of aluminum cans in a landfill is more than half a million BTUs. Recycling
that ton of aluminum, however, saves the equivalent of nearly 1,500 gallons of
gas-enough to run your car for nearly three years.
Products made with recovered aluminum reduce energy consumption by nearly 100
percent. In fact, you could run a  computer for three hours from the energy saved by
producing just one recycled aluminum can. And, it's not just metals that reap recy-
cling's benefits: a ton of recycled office paper can be made with 43 percent less  ener-
gy, or 4,077 kilowatt hours.
Computers and other electronic  products are the fastest growing-but
among the least recycled-components of America's waste stream. In
2,000, more than two million tons of consumer electronics were discard-
ed-enough to fill a one-acre hole 3.5 miles deep. That number can't take
into account the millions-possibly billions-of televisions, video games,
CD players, telephones, and computers that end up stored in our homes
because of a lack of information  or opportunities to recycle.
We are committed to maintaining and building markets for recyclable
electronics and other materials, as well as to developing and sustaining innovative
methods to recycle, reuse, and reduce waste from these products. Don't be surprised
when you see recycling messages pop up on your computer, video games, television,
and movie previews or  on display in stores and shopping malls. By providing con-
sumers and businesses with better environmental education, support, and systems
to help achieve realistic results, we intend  to change the environmental impact of our
American way of life.
                                                                       The recycling/
                                                                       reuse industry
                                                                       grosses more
                                                                       than $236 billion
                                                                       per year.
  Let's Shed a  Pound
  The two million tons of electronic products that we discard each year are the prover-
  bial drop in the bucket. Americans are the most voracious consumers in the world.
  We create and maintain the world's largest "trash pile"-nearly 232 million tons of
  waste per year. Each individual generates
  about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year-
  about 4.5 pounds per person, per day.
  Each of us generously contributes more
  than three pounds per day pf that waste to
  the trash pile, but when it comes to recy-
  cling, we are misers. Just a little over one
  pound of  our daily waste gets recycled.
                                           Incinerating
                                                10,000 tons of waste creates      1 job.

                                           Landfilling
                                                10,000 tons of waste creates      E jobs.

                                           Recycling
                                                10,000 tons of waste creates   3B jabs.

-------
The three pounds of waste we discard, howev-
er, includes paper, yard waste, food, plastics,
and many other materials that could be reused,
recycled, or used for energy recovery. We want
to keep our daily "wasteline" down, but new
wastes and careless environmental practices
could make it bulge.
To keep that from happening, we challenge you
to lose one pound of waste every day. Instead
of throwing away three pounds of trash a day,
try reusing and recycling just one pound of it. If
you do, you will not only help us beat our 35
percent national recycling goal by 2005, you
also will conserve natural resources and save
energy. A 35 percent national recycling rate
would have the same energy benefit as remov-
ing nearly three million passenger cars from the
road each year. Imagine what a 50 percent
recycling rate could do.

Let's  Get Started
Waste management in the  United States is
steadily improving. Waste disposal systems are
cleaner and safer than ever, landfills are closing,
and recycling is working. But if we each keep
tossing out 1.5 tons of waste a year, that will
add up to about 90,000 pounds of trash in  our
lifetimes. Quite a legacy to  leave our children.
Let's change our habits.  Let's begin by increas-
ing our individual recycling to two pounds each.
Ultimately, we all must accept personal responsibility for our day-to-day actions, and
challenge ourselves to do more than one small thing every day to conserve our natural
resources. What can you save today?

For More Information
More information about the Resource Conservation Challenge is available at
. We also are interested in hearing
your thoughts and ideas. Please email us at: oswchallenge@epa.gov or write to:
    U.S. EPA
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (5305W)
    Washington, DC 20460
    Attn: RCC
Information can also be obtained by calling  the
RCRA Call Center at 800 424-9346 or TDD 800 553-7672; or call 703 3412-9810 or
TDD 703 412-3323 (hearing impaired) if you are within the Washington Metropolitan
Area.
To Help You Get Started

    Reduce Your Packaging: Buy bulk or
    concentrated products when you can.

    Reduce Toxicity or Learn How:
    Recycle your batteries and use batter-
    ies with reduced mercury.

    Select Reusable Products: Sturdy,
    washable utensils, tableware,  cloth nap-
    kins, and dishcloths can be used many
    times.

    Use Durable Products: Choose furni-
    ture, sports equipment, toys, and tools
    that will stand the test of time.

    Reuse Products: Reuse newspaper,
    boxes,  shipping "peanuts," and "bubble
    wrap" to ship packages.

    Recycle Automotive Products: Take
    car batteries, antifreeze, and motor oil
    to participating recycling centers.

    Buy Products Made From Recycled
    Material: Many bottles, cans,  cereal
    boxes,  containers, and cartons are
    made from recycled material.

    Compost or Learn How: Food scraps
    and yard waste can became natural
    soil conditioners.

-------
United States
Environmental Protection Agency
Solid Waste and Emergency Response (5305W)
Washington, DC 20460

Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

EPA530-F-02-033
September 2002
www.epa.gov/osw

-------