Out of sight, out of mind. A national recycling rate that hovers around 33 percent proves that many U.S. consumers are familiar with this trash-tossing attitude.
In 2005, the U.S. EPA announced that it would target a recycling rate of 35 percent, but how can the country expect to get there without education for the next generation of consumers?
After studying waste management problems in the U.S. first hand, Sabbithry Persad wanted a way to change American behavior towards tossing, starting with children. Her new book "Garbology Kids" answers the question, "Where do recyclable materials go?". Due out in April, it's a lesson in combating and eventually erasing the country's mounting waste problem.
Persad believes that if kids learn more about recycling and waste management at an early age, they can take the knowledge with them into their adult lives, and it will become as automatic as getting in their hybrid or electric car, fastening their seat belt and brushing their teeth.
Targeted toward children ages five and up, "Where Do Recyclables Go?" is the first in a series of books that will introduce youngsters to the concepts of waste diversion and disposal, while encouraging them to be proactive in their local communities.
"I feel that producing waste is a huge problem in industrialized countries and that there are some gaps in relating this ‘problem’ to children," she says. "I hope the 'Garbology Kids' Series will help get the message of ‘Erase the Waste’ to the youth of today."
Persad's book tells the story of Tiana, a student that learns about the ins and outs of recycling after her dog chases a recycling truck to a materials recovery facility, where she takes a tour and finds out what happens to the waste that is recycled. The story unfolds as Tiana narrates her experience to her classmates.
Persad, a New York University graduate and founder of Green Solutions Magazine, has already introduced the book to her nieces and nephews. She says it has been a success so far, as her young family now wants to become more involved in bettering their local environment.
The author says she hopes the book will be just as influential on a wider scale upon its release in spring. Persad is currently looking to partner with schools, zoos, parks and waste management companies in order to get the word out about "Garbology Kids."
Amanda Wills is the Managing Editor of Earth911. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaWills.