What do you get when you recycle 80,000 pounds or approximately 2.7 million cans? Well, evidently $5,000 dollars and a national award for the City Recycling Challenge. Mayor Will Wynn accepted the "Cans for Cash" prize on behalf of the City of Austin at the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting taking place last week.
The nationwide campaign was developed to promote and encourage growth in aluminum can recycling. According to Kevin Greenawalt, President of Novelis North America. "In addition to its economic benefits, recycling reduces carbon emissions which help combat climate change; so it is more important than ever to energize community recycling and build a sustainable environment."
Municipal Waste Management Association reports the national aluminum recycling rate is currently at 51.2%, another $1 billion in recyclable cans end up in landfills annually. A few additional factoids from MWMA for those needing some small talk fodder:
The average American drinks 370 beverages in aluminum cans each year; it only takes 60 days to turn the empty cans in your recycling bin into new cans on retailers’ shelves; recycling 40 cans saves the equivalent of one gallon in gasoline; the energy saved by recycling one ton of aluminum could fuel a car that gets 35 mpg for 82,250 miles.
While there may be some debate on whether the city is doing enough in its recycling efforts, it looks like the people of Austin are doing something right!