Welcome to Recycle City!

Just a few years ago, this place was called Dumptown. For years, the folks living here hadn't thought much about where their food, toys and other possessions came from - or where they went when they threw them out. And, eventually, that became a very BIG problem...

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Because Dumptowners didn't know what happened to waste after it was thrown away, they thought nothing of dropping empty soda cans here and there or putting cans of leftover paint right into their trash cans. They bought and dumped more and more every year.

Things that easily could have been reused or recycled were tossed in the trash, because nobody knew recycling made a difference. At the dump, they threw dangerous chemicals and poisons (hazardous waste) into the regular garbage (solid waste).

The garbage heap grew and began to smell. Sometimes it caught fire, sending toxic smoke into the air and making it hard for everyone to breathe. Dumptowners tried moving away from the mess, but wherever they moved, the problem was still there—on the ground and in the air. They knew they had to fix it.

They learned to reduce the amount of waste they threw away. For example, they bought items at the store that weren't wrapped in extra packaging, so there would be less to throw away, and they bought products in larger containers. They learned to reuse other things—like washing out empty containers to store food in instead of throwing them away. And, they learned to recycle. They set up bins around town to collect glass, paper, plastics, and aluminum that could be converted back into raw materials, then made into new products. They turned their food scraps and yard trimmings into rich compost to grow their gardens.

Dumptowners paid special attention to reducing the toxic materials they bought, such as trying safer pest control products or household cleaners. For the hazardous products they did buy, Dumptown set up special collection points where people could drop off used chemicals, paints, and cleansers for safe handling and proper disposal.

Finally, they closed the old city dump and built a new solid waste landfill outside of town. With the town's new image, it needed a new name, and Recycle City was born. Travel around Recycle City and find out what folks here are doing to reduce waste and make the environment better.

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