Every fall, we here at Earth911 anxiously await our favorite holiday. No, it’s not Halloween or Thanksgiving (although those are pretty great, too) — it’s America Recycles Day, coming up on November 15.
America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. A Keep America Beautiful (KAB) initiative, this annual event started in 1997 to spread the word on the importance of recycling and to educate others on how to recycle correctly. Every year on and around November 15, thousands of local event organizers plan activities to encourage and help people throughout their communities to recycle.
Not everyone knows that there is a right and wrong way to recycle, but there is! In fact, one of the biggest barriers to recycling is knowing what items can (and cannot) be recycled. In a 2018 Earth911 survey, 66 percent of respondents indicated that they are somewhat to not at all knowledgeable about how and what to recycle. ARD events help individuals understand the the value of recycling correctly — and why it’s so important that we all participate.
Doing Your Part
Wondering how to get involved in America Recycles Day? KAB invites you organize your own ARD event by taking advantage of the tools and resources KAB offers to make event planning easy and successful. Once it’s planned, be sure to register your event. Registration ensure that your event information appears in the national register of ARD events so that others can find it and participate.
Recycling well is more than simply placing items in a curbside bin. As part of America Recycles Day, communities across the nation educate individuals about how and what they can recycle and conduct special recycling events for items that are not accepted in local curbside bins.
We know Americans have a strong commitment to recycling and we encourage you to host a special recycling event that goes beyond the bin in your community. By registering your event with America Recycles Day, you join a strong network of individuals and organizations across the nation committed to improving curbside recycling and building a comprehensive recycling platform for America” — Helen Lowman, president & CEO of Keep America Beautiful.
KAB is working with other recycling stakeholders to encourage Americans to recycle more and help establish a consistent recycling platform for America. They invite you, your family, and friends from work, school, and neighborhood to participate in America Recycles Day and to take the #BeRecycled Pledge in a collective national effort to improve recycling.
On Tap This Year
You can schedule your own event at any time during the fall before the official America Recycles Day celebration on November 15. Some examples of previous events include a “fall into recycling” event to swap Halloween costumes and compost leftover pumpkins, a free electronics recycling event to reduce e-waste, a waste-free lunch at a middle school, and a pledge drive at a neighborhood meeting. KAB loves unique recycling-related ideas!
If you’d like to join an existing event — or want some inspiration to plan your own event — here is a sampling of the events scheduled for 2019:
Saved by the Jeans
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
November 4-20, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Keep Tennessee Beautiful will conduct a denim collection drive at various locations of the University of Memphis. The denim collected from the public will be donated to a company called Blue Jeans Go Green, where they will be converted into insulation for building efforts around the country.
Orange County Recycles Day
November 9, 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Orange County, Florida, hosts its annual Recycles Day event with exhibits, truck displays, educational activities for all ages, tours of the Orange County landfill, entertainment, and refreshments.
Fort Worth, Texas
November 11, 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. (two locations)
November 12, 6:30-7:00 p.m. (three locations)
Learn what can and cannot be recycled in Fort Worth’s blue cart in this hands-on program. See how recycling right can lead to less garbage, save landfill space, and possibly save money on your garbage bill. The event will be held in five branches of the Fort Worth Public Library. Join us November 11 at the Riverside and Northside branches or on November 12 at the Diamond Hill/Jarvis, Seminary South, and Northwest branches.
Detroit Zoo Electronics Recycling Day
Royal Oak, Michigan
November 15, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Recycle your old electronics, including radios, printing, computers, televisions, VHS and DVD players, and cell phones. For the event, the Detroit Zoological Society has contracted with companies that take old electronics; separate commodities such as aluminum, copper and steel; and recycle those parts to help reduce e-waste in our landfills.
Glass Recycling Drive
Daniel Island, South Carolina
November 15, 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Join Charleston Beautiful and Fisher Recycling for a glass recycling drive. Daniel Island’s recycling contractor does not currently accept glass for recycling, and much of this material ends up in the landfill. Donated glass will be recycled and may be used for things like countertops, fireplace surrounds, and even swimming pool surfaces.
Cleanup at Russ’s Market Recycling
November 15, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Join this event to collect loose recyclables from the recycling site and do an area-wide litter pickup. Dress for the weather, as you’ll be outdoors; safety vests and litter cleanup equipment will be provided.
Take the Pledge
As part of America Recycles Day, KAB encourages you to ask your networks how they live a recycled lifestyle by taking the #BeRecycled Pledge, committing to reduce, reuse, recycle in all aspects of daily life. To date, more than 79,500 people have taken the pledge. The pledge is to:
- Learn. I will find out what materials are collected for recycling in my community.
- Act. Within the next month, I will reduce the amount of waste I produce, I will recycle more, and I will buy products made with recycled content.
- Share. In the next month, I will encourage one family member or one friend to take the #BeRecycled pledge.
Editor’s note: Originally published on October 14, 2016, this article was updated in 2017, 2018, and 2019.