Time for a recycling geek-out: America Recycles Day is just around the corner.
We may be a little biased, but this year’s events will surely be the most exciting yet. The (lucky) 13th annual celebration occurs on Nov. 15 and the weeks leading up to it, and Earth911.com will have everything you need to know on how to get involved.
The only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging people to recycle and buy recycled products, America Recycles Day celebrates one of the easiest ways for people to get involved in sustainability: recycling.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (KAB) became the national steward of America Recycles Day last year. It is is the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization with a network of over 1,200 affiliate and participating organizations.
“We’ve been talking about waste reduction and recycling for many years,” says Rob Wallace, vice president of communications for KAB. “We could not just sit on the sidelines and watch the day go uncelebrated and not have the resources dedicated to it that it deserves.
Last year, the day featured 750 registered organizations conducting 2,375 events that involved 7,700 participating groups. Each year, the events and efforts around America Recycles Day get bigger and better.
“The whole intent of America Recycles Day is to draw attention to recycling as a behavior and as an act, but also as a movement, as something that people are doing and can feel good about,” says Wallace. “It’s not just a one day celebration – it’s the one day that we take out of the year to really stop and pause and reflect on why it’s important.
“But of course we should be recycling all 365 days per year,” he adds. “It’s probably the easiest thing any individual can do to have an effect on natural resources, on energy conservation and on their carbon footprint, which we know has ramifications in climate change and other big-picture environmental issues.”
In fact, the amount of energy saved from recycling aluminum and steel cans, plastic PET and glass containers, newsprint and corrugated packaging in 2008 alone was equivalent to:
- The amount of electricity consumed by 17.8 million Americans in one year
- The amount of gasoline used in almost 11 million passenger automobiles in one year
- 7.9 percent of electricity generation from fossil fuels in the U.S. in one year
Recycling translates directly into an impact on your local environment. “It just comes right down to home when you talk about recycling. So we look at this as a day to where people can get excited about what they’re already doing, pledge to do more and share that with their friends.”
How Can You Get Involved?
As of the writing of this article, 1,493 events are slated to run throughout the next few weeks to celebrate America Recycles Day, and it’s easy to find an event in your neck of the woods.
Additionally, leading companies and organizations are supporting America Recycles Day this year. Along with financial and in-kind support, many are planning creative programs throughout the country. Here are a few ways that you can get involved with some of the sponsors for the day:
- Disney’s Friends for Change – Throughout the month of November, Friends for Change will be encouraging kids to recycle and participate in America Recycles Day with special messages on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney and Disney.com. Also, Disney Stores will be collecting t-shirts to be recycled and turned into paper. Bring in a t-shirt to a Disney Store location between Nov. 11 and 15 and receive a special discount
- PepsiCo – To encourage even more people to support and join the Dream Machine movement, PepsiCo will launch the Bottle Promise Facebook application, which challenges fans to digitally experience the Dream Machine and make their Bottle Promise. The application allows users to personally design a virtual bottle and pass it along to friends as an invitation to commit to recycling. Participants who generate the most Bottle Promises by passing their bottle to the most friends, will earn points redeemable for prizes on Greenopolis.com.
- Waste Management – Waste Management will be hosting a series of events to celebrate America Recycles Day, including open houses for some of their single-stream material recovery facilities (MRFs), a.k.a. recycling centers. Earth911 had the opportunity to tour one of the company’s MRFs in September, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Stay tuned for an update on which facilities will be hosting an event.
- American Chemistry Council – The American Chemistry Council will be on morning news shows across the country on America Recycles Day, working to promote plastics recycling at home and demonstrating how plastics go on to become new products. Additionally, they’re expanding their Florida plastic bag recycling campaign ‘A Bag’s Life’ to Virginia on Nov. 15, with a recycling event in Richmond.
Move It Forward
Whether or not events are available in your area or if you can take advantage of one of these sponsored events, another way to get involved is to take the America Recycles Day pledge. The pledge addresses getting in-the-know about what can be recycled in your area, recycling at school or work, focusing on recycling e-waste and spreading the word.
Keep America Beautiful is also encouraging people to change their Facebook and Twitter icons to the America Recycles Day logo on Nov. 15 to show your support. “It’s really about encouraging people to be recycling everything they can, every way they can, as often as they can,” says Wallace. “And by making that declaration, it makes it easy to share using social media.”
No matter how, when, or where you participate, America Recycles Day isn’t a day to miss. Find an event near you, and get involved!
View From a Recycling Center