On Nov. 9 and 10, NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida partnered with Keep America Beautiful and Goodwill Industries participating in America Recycles Day. The national emphasis focuses on opportunities not to discard items that can be recycled, giving them new life.
This year, Kennedy’s Spaceport Integration and Services Directorate encouraged employees to bring in personal electronic waste, either working or not, as well as new and “gently used” household articles. These items were collected by Goodwill Industries for reuse.
Altogether, 182 people dropped off more than 7,500 pounds of items to be recycled.
America Recycles Day is a program of Keep America Beautiful and is nationally recognized as a time dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. Every year on or around Nov. 15, event organizers work to educate neighbors, friends and colleagues about the value of not discarding no-longer-needed items.
According to the website of Keep America Beautiful, the national recycling rate has increased annually for the past 30 years. The current recycling rate in the U.S. is 34.5 percent.
During the two-day event, scores of Kennedy employees turned in goods to be recycled, dropping them off in the parking lots of the Kennedy Learning Institute and Vehicle Assembly Building. While some of the materials turned in were used household items, much of it was electronic waste.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics and glass, all of which require energy to mine or manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing.
Noting the value of recycling electronics, the EPA reports that recycling one million laptop computers saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used annually by more than 3,500 U.S. homes. For every million cell phones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering, increase recycling and beautify America’s communities. Among the organization’s most effective efforts was their 1971 ad campaign discouraging litter. During the 1950s and 1960s, roadside trash was commonplace.
The public service announcement came to be known as the “Crying Indian ad.” Narrated by actor William Conrad, the message featured actor Iron Eyes Cody, portraying a Native American saddened to see the damage to the Earth’s natural beauty by the thoughtless litter.
A short promotional video for Kennedy employees recently was produced encouraging everyone to avoid throwing recyclable waste into an ordinary trash can, but choose a recycling bin.