Electronic devices such as televisions, computers and cellular telephones play a vital role in daily life. Over time, however, these modern wonders wear out and become waste. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently partnered with Goodwill Industries and several other local organizations to collect these and other used household items as part of America Recycles Day.
The annual event is a nationally recognized program of Keep America Beautiful, dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. Each year around mid-November, America Recycles Day organizers work to tell Americans about the value of not discarding no-longer-needed items.
Keep America Beautiful Senior Vice President of Recycling Brenda Pulley emphasized the organization’s goal while speaking at a congressional staff briefing during last year’s event.
“Since 1953, Keep America Beautiful has worked to fulfill a vision of a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live,” she said. “Our mission is to inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment.”
On Nov. 14 and 15, Kennedy employees worked to keep communities around the spaceport clean and green by bringing in items for recycling, dropping them off in the parking lots of the Kennedy Data Center and Vehicle Assembly Building. While much of what was turned in was electronic waste, items included everything from gently used household products, to greeting cards and serviceable eyeglasses.
All totaled, spaceport employees made approximately 295 drop-offs.
These efforts are paying off. According to the website of Keep America Beautiful, over the past 30 years the national recycling rate in the United States has increased by 34 percent.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials. Recycling consumer electronics conserves natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions caused by manufacturing. 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 cellphones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.