ByChase Ezell

Apr 15, 2016
Recycling event

On the heels of the Paris climate talks in November and in response to news about the recent mass closures of recycling centers across the country, nonprofit organization Recycle Across America (RAA) and Participant Media’s television network, Pivot, are hosting two solution-focused events with U.S. brand leaders and celebrities on April 21, 2016 with recycling awareness front and center.

Re-upping recycling awareness

The morning Brand Leaders Solution Summit is co-hosted by Recycle Across America and Pivot, in conjunction with Whole Foods Market, Kiehl’s Since 1851, TerraCycle and 1% for the Planet.  At the Summit, leading brands and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are convening to discuss solving:

  • barriers to sustainable packaging;
  • stakeholder pressures regarding sustainability;
  • ineffective recycling programs;
  • and increased waste entering oceans.

At the Summit, information will be shared about the current faltering condition of the U.S. recycling industry and its economic and environmental impact on businesses, manufacturers and oceans.  RAA and partners will present the standardized labeling solution for recycling bins, which is being adopted by leading brands, including Bank of America, NBC Universal, Whole Foods Market, Hallmark, as well as counties, airports and thousands of schools nationwide. The benefits of the standardized labels – including making recycling programs effective and financially beneficial for companies – will be discussed, in addition to the benefits for CPG companies and closed loop manufacturing.

RAA will also announce the first state in the U.S. to begin displaying the standardized labels on recycling bins throughout the state, including at residences, schools and businesses making it easier for people to begin to recycle right, thereby significantly reducing the amount of costly garbage that is historically thrown in recycling bins each day as a result of inconsistent and often ineffective labeling.

Recycle right

The Summit will be followed by an evening event titled, Let’s Pose for Progress, held at the MILK Studios in Hollywood, CA.   The party will feature the world’s first live-stream photo shoot broadcast in real-time and resulting in millions of digital PSA spots on Lamar Advertising Company billboards nationwide.  Famed celebrity photographer, Timothy White, is donating his services to photograph the celebrities participating in the Let’s recycle right! PSA campaign.  Celebrities, who are already involved in the recycling awareness PSA campaign, include Kristen Bell, Anthony Mackie, Angie Harmon, Alanis Morissette, Bill Maher and many others.

Recycling awareness: lets recycle right billboard
Celebrities, who are already involved in the recycling awareness PSA campaign, include Kristen Bell, Anthony Mackie, Angie Harmon, Alanis Morissette, Bill Maher and many others

“We are proud of the brand and entertainment leaders that are advancing this critical solution to help recycling begin to thrive in the U.S., at a time when it needs it the most,” said Mitch Hedlund, executive director of Recycle Across America.   “Recycling is the #1 thing society can do to help the environment, the economy and sustainable manufacturing as well as to protect the oceans, but it requires people to recycle right.”

“At 1% for the Planet, we believe we can do more good together than we can alone. The Solutions Summit is a powerful opportunity for leading brands to come together and create a new vision and practice for recycling.” Kate Williams, CEO 1% for the Planet.

Helping spread the recycling awareness message about the importance of standardized labels is Pivot, the television network of Participant Media, the award-winning media company focused on social change. The Pivot is contributing resources to help advance recycling and environmental progress, by teaming up with Recycle Across America.

The impact of standardized labels on recycling bins:

  • To date there are more than one million standardized labels displayed on recycling bins throughout the U.S., making it easier for people to begin to recycle right.  This solution has proven to increase recycling levels between 50-100%, while significantly reducing the amount of garbage that typically contaminates the recycling process and drives up the cost of processing, leading to many recycling plants closing in the last few months.
  • In an independent national focus group, testing the standardized labels against a multitude of other recycling labels, the standardized labels outperformed the others, in recycling levels, quality of materials collected, less contamination and greater overall appeal.

“Now is a vital moment for the future of recycling in the US. The recycling industry across the nation is faltering.  All of this despite a recent survey by the Carton Council of North America showing that 90% of citizens think recycling is important and that more recycling would be better of the environment. Over 60% of those surveyed said they know they should make recycling a priority”, said Hedlund.

“It’s clear the $200 billion recycling industry is in need of help. RAA’s simple, affordable and effective solution is the national standardization of recycling bin labels. RAA’s labels are proven to increase recycling rates by almost 100%, but more importantly drastically reduce the contamination rates of garbage being disposed in recycling. Removing garbage contamination from recyclables during processing greatly increases the cost of recycling, making the recycled commodity less price competitive. By reducing contamination levels, we can make recycled materials price competitive and save the industry, regardless of the price of a barrel of oil or other virgin commodities,” added Hedlund.

About Recycle Across America

Recycle Across America (RAA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which has developed the first and only society-wide standardized labeling system for recycling bins to help eliminate the public confusion surrounding recycling and to improve the economics of closed loop manufacturing.  RAA and the standardized labels have been identified as a world-changing solution by Ashoka Global Innovators for the Public and are being referred to as “one of the most important environmental fixes taking root today.” For more information about RAA’s standardized label initiative or its celebrity-led ‘Let’s Recycle Right’ campaign, visit

Feature image credit: jgolby / Shutterstock

By Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for