Given all that’s been happening in 2020, it’s important to note that we are coming up on the 23rd anniversary of America Recycles Day.
Keep America Beautiful, the program sponsor, notes that this is the “only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.” This year’s program focuses on individual actions that each of us can take to make a difference in recycling; “Keep America Beautiful urges people to pledge to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle in every aspect of their life. The #BeRecycled pledge is a promise to actively choose to live a recycled lifestyle by:
- Recycling at home, work, school and on the go;
- Buying products made with recycled content; and
- Educating and encouraging friends, family, and neighbors to take the #BeRecycled pledge”, which is:
For America Recycles Day 2020, I pledge 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.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting this year’s (online) Innovation Fair and Summit on November 16 and 17. You can learn more about these events, and register, here: https://americarecycles.vfairs.com/.
According to the EPA, “The goal of the Innovation Fair is to connect the public and potential investors with recycling innovators, thereby spurring market development and adoption of new technologies that increase recycling rates, as well as create new products comprised of post-consumer recycled content….The annual America Recycles Summit brings together organizations and individuals who are interested in making a difference in recycling in the United States. In 2018, EPA held its first America Recycles Summit with a goal to address the major challenges facing the U.S. recycling system.”
History of America Recycles
The very first “Recycles Day” was actually “Texas Recycles Day,” back in 1994. According to Bob Gedert, an Affiliate Senior Consultant writing for Resource Recycling Systems, “Texas Recycles Day began in 1994 as the brainchild of two employees at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: Kevin Tuerff and Valerie Davis. Their idea was to promote recycling through a six-week campaign to boost recycling in the state. They needed a day that was far enough away from Earth Day (April 22nd), but didn’t compete with election day or the holidays – November 15th was chosen. When Kevin and Valerie left their state jobs and started an environmental-focused public relations and advertising agency, they proposed transforming Texas Recycles Day into America Recycles Day. They presented the concept at the National Recycling Coalition’s (NRC’s) Congress, and it was embraced immediately. The first national run of America Recycles Day was set for November 15th, 1997.”
Learn more at America Recycles 2020 https://www.epa.gov/americarecycles/america-recycles-events.