Nov. 15, 2008, marks the eleventh anniversary of America Recycles Day, a day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products, according to a recent press release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is encouraging Americans to step up their personal recycling efforts to top the nation’s average recycling rate of 33.4 percent.

“Our recycling rate has increased as more and more Americans recognize that recycling helps our environment and our economy,” said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “On America Recycles Day, I encourage Americans to celebrate the nation’s progress, but also to learn about opportunities to do more.”

Americans recycled and composted 85 million tons of the 254 million tons of total municipal solid waste produced last year, according to EPA’s new 2007 Municipal Solid Waste Characterization report. This represents a slight improvement over 2006 rates, when 82 million of the 251 million tons of municipal solid waste produced were recycled and composted. In 2007, each person produced 4.6 pounds of trash per day, of which 1.5 pounds were recycled or composted.

Americans save energy, conserve natural resources, and help reduce climate change every time they reduce, reuse or recycle. Recycling 85 billion tons of municipal solid waste in 2007 saved the energy equivalent of more than 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline and prevented the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 35 million passenger vehicles.

More information on the 2007 Municipal Solid Waste Report:

More information on America Recycles Day: