America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful nationally recognized initiative, is dedicated to promoting, educating and celebrating recycling in the United States. This annual event encourages Americans to waste less, recycle more and purchase recycled products. There are many ways you can make a difference.

Each year, on and in the weeks leading up to Nov. 15, communities across the country take action by sponsoring and participating in events and activities that promote environmental citizenship that increase and improve recycling in America.

The mission of the Keep America Beautiful initiative is to inspire and educate people to take action, every day, to improve and beautify their community environment. Even though this is a national program, its roots are in our communities, and NAS Lemoore is no exception.

Recycling has long been a daily habit for many for the simple reason that it is effective. It works. Every can, bottle and newspaper we recycle saves resources and energy, reduces the amount of waste in landfills, conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals, supplies raw materials to industry and creates jobs.

Recent findings on the economic benefits of the recycling industry with an update to the national Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study, released in 2016 support this initiative. This study analyzed the numbers of jobs, wages and tax revenues attributed to recycling. The study found that in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for roughly 757,000 jobs, $36.6 billion in wages and $6.7 billion in tax revenues. This equates to 1.57 jobs, $76,000 in wages and $14,101 in tax revenues for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled.

Recycling can easily become a non-intrusive part of the everyday routine. Properly disposing of everyday objects, such as paper, bottles and magazines saves energy. The recycled materials can be used to create new products, meaning less virgin material needs to be mined or harvested, processed, manufactured and transported - all of which consume energy.

Recycling works and it makes a difference. NAS Lemoore makes a difference too. Our installation Recycling Center does an incredible job diverting trash from landfills. With a staff of three, last year our Recycling Center diverted more than 1,665 tons of municipal trash from area landfills to include 413 tons of metal, 455 tons of paper and cardboard and 413 tons of wood and pallets. That is roughly six tons of materials that are recycled each day aboard NAS Lemoore that continue to help our Navy "Go Green." Our Recycling Center also worked to divert more than 5,000 tons of construction and demolition debris from construction projects here at NASL, making “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” a way of life on the installation.

This America Recycles Day, we are encouraged to recognize the progress our nation has made on recycling and how this has contributed to American prosperity. The recycling rate has more than tripled during the last 30 years to the current rate of 34 percent. This steady growth has created jobs and wages for Americans as well as supported community development.

There continues to be opportunities for even greater contribution, as the most recent data shows that materials worth $9 billion are thrown away each year. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of America Recycles Day, take a moment to recycle more and trash less to minimize environmental effects, create jobs and strengthen the economy.

In honor of America Recycles Day, here are a few ways to boost the amount you and your family recycle. Try one, try several or try them all.

  • Reacquaint – Take time to reacquaint yourself with our community’s recycling program. Whether it is newspapers, plastic bottles, or cardboard boxes, the Recycling Center is ready and willing to help.
  • Donate – Donate clothing, furniture, or other household items you no longer use to a local nonprofit or resale store such as the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society’s Thrift Store. By donating reusable items, you are reducing waste while helping others in your community.
  • Recycle more – Prescription medicines, electronics, scrap metal, household hazardous wastes and other materials – even athletic shoes!
  • Be a thoughtful shopper – Look for products labeled with a high recycled content or that use “post-consumer” recycled materials, or byproducts with minimal packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable.
  • Talk to your kids – There are many ways children can recycle at home and at school.
  • Recycle your old electronics – TVs, computers, smart phones and computer accessories.
  • Reimagine - How often do you ask yourself what's safe to put in your in recycling bin? Next time you go to throw something away, get creative and think of ways to reduce waste in the first place! There are many small habit changes that can motivate you to reduce, reuse and recycle more.

Recycling is easy and it makes a big difference to the environment and the economy. As we celebrate America Recycles Day, do not forget that one individual’s trash is another individual’s treasure.

All my best,

Captain David James,

Commanding Officer, NAS Lemoore