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Recycling

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EPA recommends four steps for effectively managing materials. You have probably heard the phrase "reduce, reuse, and recycle" to encourage reduction of waste by making smart decisions when purchasing products, including the consideration of product packaging; the reuse of containers and products; the recycling of materials ranging from paper to food scraps, yard trimmings, and electronics; and finally, the purchase of products manufactured with recycled content.

Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Collecting used bottles, cans, and newspapers from hotel guests or casino visitors is just the first in a series of steps that generates a host of financial, environmental, and social returns. Some of these benefits accrue locally as well as globally. For example:

  • Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases U.S. competitiveness
  • Recycling reduces the need for landfilling and incineration
  • Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials
  • Recycling saves energy
  • Recycling decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change
  • Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
  • Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations

For more information on tribal recycling programs, please visit the EPA Region 9 Tribal Solid Waste page or EPA’s recycling general web page.

Recycling can include common items like bottles and cans; but it can also include things like playing cards, used oils and grease from restaurants, cardboard, old computers, and paper from offices. EPA can offer guidance on setting up a paper recycling program, recycling on the casino floor, or e-waste such as old computers. For a list of common recyclable materials, please see Common Recyclable Materials (PDF) (45 pp, 66K, About PDF).

Additionally, EPA’s WasteWise Program is a free, voluntary program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment. WasteWise members can join as partners, endorsers, or both. Partners join to change their own behavior and track their own internal waste reduction efforts, while endorsers are state and local government agencies, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and businesses that help their members, clients, and constituents realize that reducing solid waste makes good business sense. WasteWise, launched in 1994, has more than 2,700 members.

EPA’s "Waste Reduction Tips for Hotels and Casinos in Indian Country" (PDF) (6 pp, 602K, About PDF) may also be helpful as you design your recycling and reuse program.

Fats, oils, and greases from restaurant activities can also be recycled into biodiesel. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. It is safe to use in any diesel engine and is more sustainable and far less polluting than conventional petroleum diesel. Biodiesel significantly reduces asthma-causing soot, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide in air emissions. Along with creating less pollution, biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable and non-toxic. Produced from renewable resources such as waste cooking oil or soybean oil, biodiesel reduces dependence on limited energy resources and foreign oil. The "fat to fuel" process recovers energy and recycles waste oils that are either dumped in landfills or flushed down drains, clogging pipes and causing costly sewer spills. For more information, visit EPA’s biodiesel page.

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