Global Recycling Day

It’s easy to think of recycling only on a local level, such as what goes in the household recycling bin or when is the next community e-waste recycling day. But the founders of Global Recycling Day believe that recycling is a global issue. Global Recycling Day (GRD), which falls on March 18 annually, was founded to promote the vitality of recycling across the globe.

It is a day for action, for the world to come together to put the planet first, and to change the mindset of governments, businesses, communities, and individuals around the world, to see recyclables as a resource”  — Global Recycling Foundation

A Day of Global Action

GRD is a day to not just celebrate the importance of recycling, but to also influence change among world leaders and reinforce recycling as a global industry with one united voice. And it is a day to recognize the important role recycling plays in preserving our resources and securing the future of our planet.

“People often think recycling is just the blue bin at the end of the driveway,” said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), one of the inaugural GRD sponsors. “Recycling is a $100 billion industry that supports 500,000 jobs in the U.S. alone. It’s also integral to our manufacturing supply chain.”

The idea for Global Recycling Day was first announced at the 2015 World Recycling Convention by Ranjit S. Baxi, president of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR). The date selected for its launch March 18, 2018, was symbolic, marking the 70th birthday of BIR.

“There was a desire to raise awareness of the importance of recycling globally,” said Wiener. “We’re encouraging the world to think of [recycling] scrap as the planet’s seventh resource.”

For those unfamiliar with the six natural resources, they are air, coal, minerals, natural gas, oil, and water. These represent the basics from which we create food and manufactured goods, as well as power our homes and cars. All of them are in limited supply. But by increasing our global recycling rates, making the most of our seventh resource, we can help preserve all six.

We are carelessly using the earth’s natural resources without thinking about what will replace them.” – Global Recycling Day website

It is important that this effort be global because resources are an issue that affects everyone on the planet, not just specific countries.

7 Concrete Changes

Global Recycling Day 2021

This year’s GRD theme is #RecyclingHeroes 2021, and an award will be presented to the winner on March 18. The award recognizes efforts that showcase the important role recycling plays in contributing to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future.

“We want to recognise Recycling Heroes for their outstanding contributions during these unprecedented times,” Baxi said.  “Nominations are invited from individuals, communities and businesses who have continued to make [a] significant impact towards recycling in the last 12 months and whose efforts will contribute towards a greener future of our world.”

Nominate a #RecyclingHero

You have the opportunity to nominate a person, business, or activity that has supported recycling during the pandemic. Ten winning #RecyclingHeroes will be selected from around the world. Each winner will receive a prize of US$500 and will be featured on all GRD social media channels.

To submit your nomination, contact and include the following details about your nominee:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Reasons for the nomination
  • Date the business/activity started

Nominations must be received by March 8, 2021.

7 Questions

More About Global Recycling Day

Learn more about the global role of recycling in combatting climate change, boosting employment, and conserving Earth’s primary resources.

Editor’s note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers, and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. ISRI is one of these partners.

Originally published on March 1, 2018, this article was updated in February 2021.

By Trey Granger

Trey Granger is a former senior waste stream analyst for Earth911.