The Otter Tail County Recycling Center wants to show what recycling can do on America Recycles Day, Nov. 15. Take some time this month to learn about recycling right, and at noon on Monday, Nov. 16 the County will hold an interactive America Recycles Day celebration via Zoom, according to a news release from Otter Tail County.

While recycling is traditionally measured in tons, it is sometimes hard for people to visualize or understand what that kind of volume really means. Pair that with common misconceptions about recycling being landfilled or burned and it’s not surprising that some people are skeptical about the benefits of recycling. Recycling from Otter Tail County is sent to end markets in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest and does get recycled, contrary to what is sometimes seen in the media, the county says.

In 2019, Otter Tail County collected and shipped out approximately 2056 tons of cardboard, 1186 tons of paper, 867 tons of glass, 128 tons of aluminum, 110 tons of steel, and 366 tons of plastic to be recycled. When those amounts are translated into how many new items can be made out of recycled content, the results are impressive. In one year, recycling from Otter Tail County could make:

  • 11 million pizza boxes
  • 4.7 million rolls of toilet paper with recycled content
  • 2.3 million new glass bottles
  • 7.6 million new aluminum cans and 1.3 million steel/tin cans
  • 732 recycled plastic lumber decks

“It may not seem like much when you put just one box or one can in the bin, but it really does add up. We want residents to understand just how much their recycling is doing in Otter Tail County and converting tonnage of recycling into how many things could be made from your recycling is a great way to do that.” Cedar Walters, Otter Tail County solid waste public information and education officer, said in a news release.

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Recycling, and then making sure to buy products with recycled content, help to use resources to their fullest potential. Extracting virgin resources for manufacturing takes an enormous toll on the environment, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and often uses more energy compared to using recycled feedstocks. In addition, recyclables have economic value. For example, it is estimated that $700 million worth of aluminum is thrown away every year with the trash in the United States alone.

While making less waste in the first place is key to reducing what we send to landfills, recycling is an important part of waste reduction that has numerous benefits. To celebrate America Recycles Day, the public can join staff from the Otter Tail County Recycling Center for an interactive virtual celebration on Nov. 16 at noon – event details and more information on recycling right can be found at