In these days of more environmental awareness, conserving resources is everybody's business. Or as industrialist Jon M. Huntsman of Huntsman Chemical Corp. put it recently, his company's responsibility "does not stop at our factory gates."

Huntsman Chemical, based in Salt Lake City, has put that ideal into practice by helping sponsor a trash recycling program in three of the nation's national parks this past summer. Other partners in the effort include Dow Chemical Co. and the National Park Service.With help from the two corporations, the Park Service has put up recycling bins for plastic, glass and aluminum at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, and Acadia National Park in Maine. The program will be extended to Yosemite National Park in California next year.

Brightly colored signs in the parks helped identify the bins. Brochures and recycling bags were given to park visitors. Exhibits and campfire programs also encouraged recycling. The plastic, glass and aluminum was collected by a local business and taken to a recycler.

How well did the program work? During two summer months, the three parks collected more than 50 tons of recyclable material. That's 100,000 pounds of trash that otherwise would have had to be hauled away to a landfill.

Huntsman Chemical and Dow Chemical are to be commended for their public-spirited concern and for working with the Park Service. Since only about one in 10 Americans tries to recycle trash, more of the rest of us need to make an effort to salvage materials instead of tossing them in the garbage that's headed for burgeoning landfill dumps.