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Recycling can save the planet. We can do it together.
The Recycling Partnership
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The Recycling Partnership

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you've probably complained about the fact that "garbage night" means that you're going to have to spend at least five minutes of walking downstairs, pulling your trash, compost, and recycling bins on the curb, and then debating whether you'll bring them back in first thing in the morning or on the way home from work.


Right now, you're probably thinking about what a bother it might be to have to put your shoes on and leave the comfortable warmth of your living room to ensure that all your trash and recycling is gone in the morning. So here's something to consider as you pull your slippers on: According to a new study by The Recycling Partnership, easy access to curbside recycling is a privilege a large number of Americans don't have.

The report, published in early 2020, explains that only half of Americans have the same access to curbside recycling as they do trash. Furthermore, many people who do have access to curbside recycling services don't use them at all, and those that do are not participating as fully as they could be. On average, that means only 32 percent of what's recyclable in the U.S. home actually makes its way to the recycling plant. More than 20 million tons of curbside recycling are lost to landfills each year.

How is this a problem? Not to get you down just as you're being reminded to take the recycling out, but landfill space problem is a real issue in the United States. As more and more garbage gets sent to the local dump, the space to leave it becomes rarer and rarer. Some landfills are already approaching capacity. And, according to the National Institutes of Health, not recycling puts a huge strain on non-renewable resources. When we don't recycle paper, for instance, more wood needs to be harvested to create fresh new sheets. And when it comes to aluminum, it takes 95 percent more energy to create it from raw materials than it does to reuse recycled metals. And making metal from scrap rather than new ore uses 40 percent less water and creates more than 90 percent less mining waste.

The Recycling Partnership

With all that in mind, it's clear that recycling isn't just necessary but something we all need to engage in to continue saving the environment. But in order for recycling to thrive and expand (especially to those who don't have access to curbside recycling), The Recycling Partnership makes clear that everyone from individuals to huge corporations need to step up and do their part to make renewing and reusing a regular and sustainable part of our lives.

"Every day we hear from citizens, communities, policy makers, corporate leaders, and other organizations who all want the same thing – a stronger recycling system," says The Recycling Partnership's CEO, Keefe Harrison. "It will take bold public-private partnership and leadership to make lasting improvements. Now is the time for action."

So how can we all step up to increase our recycling power? (Hey, it's kind of like being a superhero!) On an organizational level, it's imperative that we push for greater support of community recycling programs in our communities. And this doesn't mean that we just put out our bins every week. It means we need to lean on our governments for stronger policies and funding. That we demand corporations provide capital funding and technical assistance, and that recycling becomes not just an environmental but political issue when we're choosing which elected officials to give our support.

It's also time that we got more into recycling, too. That means making more of an effort to learn what is and isn't accepted for recycling in your community (pro-tip: check your community's recycling webpage) and understanding how the recycling system works so you know how we all play a role in making recycling successful. Maybe it means speaking to your family, friends, and roommates, or your colleagues at work. Maybe it's leading a recycling initiative at work. One thing's for certain — recycling can't succeed without all of us working together.

The Recycling Partnership

And here's what success looks like. If stakeholders from all levels of the chain participate more fully in recycling, The Recycling Partnership's study found that expanded recycling programs could result in conserving approximately 154 million barrels of oil and reducing gas emissions by 96 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. What does that look like in terms of impact to the environment? It's like taking more than 20 million cars off U.S. highways. And just as important: expanded recycling programs could create more than 370,000 full-time jobs, meaning more recycling would make a positive impact on both the environment and the economy.

"The state of the planet's health demands dedicated and swift action to protect natural resources and abate climate change," says Harrison.

That change can't happen without you.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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