Monday was National Recycling Day, and one Iowa expert says we’ve made progress as a state and country. Catherin Zeman is the director of the Recycling Technology Transfer Center at the University of Northern Iowa. She says there’s been a slow increase in recycling rates since 1960, projected to hit 32-percent nationwide by 2005. Right now we’re at 27-percent nationwide, and 30 to 35-percent in Iowa. Zeman says America’s affluence and use of products has counterbalanced some of the recycling effort.She says at the same point in time people are doing more recycling, the amount of stuff we consume and throw out has also increased. Zeman says we need to continue our efforts to recycle. She says we need to reduce the amount of packaging, reduce the amount of material we use by buying in bulk. She says we need to work from the bottom all along the cycle by reducing, reusing and recycling. Zeman says the markets for recycled material have increased quite a bit. She says the prices for a variety raw materials have done pretty well. She says those prices are cyclical, but she says we’re making more products with recycled material and not making a big deal about it. Zeman says there’s an energy savings in recycling that also has to fit into the equation. She says one ton of recyled paper save three tons of virgin wood and saves around 53 million btu’s of energy. She says saving energy helps reduce the carbon that goes into the atmosphere that may impact global warming. Zeman says her organization at U-N-I continues working with businessess and shows them how they can use recycled materials.
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