I think you would have to be brain-dead to walk through a shopping mall, airport or school and not realize recycling is a big thing. I am so thrilled to know that Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, first proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2004. According to the National Recycling Coalition, America Recycles Day “is dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle, and buy recycled products.”

The national recycling rate is currently 34 percent. Recycling 75 percent of the nation’s waste would create nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the Tellus Institute with Sound Resource Management Group Inc.

“Recycling is the easiest thing we can all do to improve our community, conserve natural resources and create green jobs. Collectively, we aim to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling at Keep America Beautiful and national program manager for America Recycles Day.

America Recycles Day is a national program of Keep America Beautiful and is the only nationally recognized day and community-driven awareness event dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Communities across the country have banded together and participated in America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 to educate, promote environmental citizenship, and encourage action.

Through the simple act of recycling and buying recycled products, it is the people who make the choices to close the loop and complete the supply chain of recycled materials that help fuel our economy. You can be one of those who make a difference. Do you throw all of your aluminum and plastic away? The nonprofit organization As You Sow estimates the value of just discarded packaging in the United States is worth more than $11 billion.

If you have ever wondered if you really make a difference with the one aluminum can you throw away, think about it like this. The number of cans recycled every 30 seconds equals the number of people who could fill an entire pro-football stadium. And recycling just one aluminum can saves the equivalent energy of powering a 46-inch LED TV for three hours. A glass container can go from the recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days. The decision you make does matter – make the right choice!

Some resources:

• www.Americarecyclesday.org and http://americarecyclesday.org/join-an-event.

• Recycle old eyeglasses – www.lionsclub.org.

• Recycle electronics from 9 a.m. to noon this Friday the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City.

Lynn Youngblood is the executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City, a residential energy client service coordinator certified by the National Energy Retrofit Institute, and a past nature center manager with the Missouri Department of Conservation.