Happy Earth Day! As we celebrate our home planet and the strides being made toward keeping our world clean, healthy and sustainable, it's inspiring to realize how much environmental awareness has expanded since the first Earth Day back in 1970. Back then, industrial sites could freely emit pollution and litter covered our streets and landscapes and clogged our rivers. The concept of zero waste was still a long way off. Curbside recycling programs did not exist in the United States until 1973. Today, there are more than 8,000 such programs in operation, according to the National Resources Defense Council.
Today, as a nation, we recycle approximately 81 million tons of waste a year, which equals the total quantity of garbage produced annually in the United Statesin 1960. But that's the good news. The bad news is that Americans create 250 million tons of municipal waste in a year, and about 15 billion tons a year of all other types of industrial wastes. Even so, it's important to note that many industries, including and especially commercial real estate, have embraced recycling. So today, Earth Day 2014, let's celebrate the recycling efforts of some of the top real estate and development firms, namely: JLL, Cassidy Turley, The Rockefeller Group, SL Green, Simon Property Group, Forest City Enterprises, CBRE and Bernards.