Wow! According to the state Department of Ecology, Washington has hit 49 percent in recycling (TCH article 12-15-11).
These are 2010 final stats, up from 2009 where we were at 45%. That's a nice little 4% increase, and it's headed in the right direction!
When you think of the numbers involved 4 percent is really helpful 4.3 MILLION TONS of the 8.9 MILLION tons of waste generated was recycled. When you're talking about millions of anything, 4% is significant.
The article noted overall waste was down about 1%, and there in lies another story.
You don't have to physically recycle a product to go green. You can go green at the point of purchase. You can buy products that are manufactured from recycled materials. You can also buy a product that you will recycle when it's use is up.
Part of the point in hunting out these types of items is extensive studies are done on what people buy. The more products being purchased that contain recycled matter, the more items will come on the market that use them. The cycle sort of "closes a loop" where less raw material is used and less harmful things wind up landfilled.
Another way to go green is to watch for and attend meetings or municipal functions where the practice is discussed. The greater attendance at these public hearings, the more it's acknowledged that these are practices people want.
Schools should be encouraged through parent participation that we want education on sensible, sustainable alternatives. Teach how to make informed decisions.
If we all reduce the amount, the raw tonnage of waste, we reduce the amount we need to recycle later. We're going to exceed that 50 percent figure that much quicker!