November 15 is America Recycles Day, and this year is the biggest one yet. America Recycles Day is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the holiday this year. While the days and weeks leading up to November 15 are also part of the celebration since that’s when some of the events take place, the actual America Recycles Day is on Wednesday, November 15 this year.
The initiative is sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, H&M, Indorama Ventures, Keurig Green Mountain, Northrup Grumman and Waste Management.
According to a 2014 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, only about 34 percent of recyclable goods in America were recycled in 2013. While that’s the most recent study conducted by the EPA, Pew Research conducted research in 2016 and found that while over 90 percent of Americans have recycling available to them, the percentage of recyclable waste that is recycled was still well under 50 percent on average.
Here’s what you need to know about America Recycles Day:
1. The Day Was First Celebrated in 1997
Because America Recycles Day was first celebrated in 1997, it is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The day is made to educate people about the importance of recycling to the well-being of both the economy and the environment. Recycling programs have changed a lot since 1997 and the event has changed along with the times.
On most past America Recycles Day, a presidential proclamation is made. Last year, President Obama called upon the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate programs and activities, also encouraging all American people to continue reducing, reusing and recycling efforts throughout the year.
One of the main goals of America Recycles day is to help motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.
2. It’s the Only Nationally Recognized Recycling Day
While there are many different recycling days in communities and counties, America Recycles Day is the only one that is recognized at a national level. On a smaller scale, it is relatively easy for people to find recycling programs and education near their hometown.
This year for the 2nd year, America Recycles Day is also encouraging people to “Be Recycled” in every sense of the word. The event encourages individuals to commit to learn about recycling in their communities, consistently and correctly recycle and to buy more products made from recycled content.
Participants in America Recycles Day and the Be Recycled movement are encouraged to spread the word by educating their families, friends and coworkers about recycling in the community.
3. It’s Not the Same as World Recycling Day
America Recycles Day is celebrated on a different day than World Recycling Day, or Global Recycling Day. While America’s day is celebrated in November, World Recycling Day is celebrated in mid-March. Global Recycling Day is a relatively new initiative. The first official Global Recycling Day will be celebrated on March 18, 2018.
Global Recycling Day is made to promote action on recycling around the world. It is organized by the Bureau of International Recycling, which has been around for 70 years. The company claims that recyclables should be recognized by people as the 7th most important natural resource. They’re hoping that the day will raise awareness of recycling and enhance perception that recycling will create a clean and sustainable environment.
An unrelated holiday dubbed International Recycling Day was organized on May 17, 2017, but that event didn’t gain much traction. The Bureau of International Recycling will be promoting their event through the early months of 2018, hoping to gain much more fanfare and participation.
4. The Program is Sponsored by Keep America Beautiful
America Recycles Day is sponsored by the Keep America Beautiful organization. The organization shares a mission to educate and inspire people to improve their community environment every day. They sponsor a variety of national programs and initiatives with over 600 community-based affiliates and over 5 million volunteers organization wide.
In order to improve recycling, the organization is focusing on 3 clear factors. The factors are convenience, communication and cause. They plan to get people to understand the benefits of recycling and educate people on why they should care about recycling:
By educating and engaging individuals to recycle more of the right things the right way-at home, at work and on the go-we can help make recycling more economically viable, creating jobs and providing recyclables to manufacture new products and packaging, while continuing to reap greater environmental and community benefits.
5. There Are Events All Over the Country
With over 2,000 events registered for the year, it’s simple to find an event to celebrate America Recycles Day almost anywhere in the United States. The events take place at different times throughout the day and month, so if you’re looking for an event to attend, check the America Recycles Day Event map here. You can search by location and date, so the map is simple to navigate.
Some events on America Recycles Day are events where people can go to recycle old electronics for free. The events are to bring awareness to the importance of recycling electronics instead of throwing them away. Electronics that should be recycled instead of thrown away include computers, office equipment and cell phones. Other events take place at schools where educators are working to teach children and young adults about the benefits of recycling.
There are also events that focus on recycling plastic bags. These events are called Plastic Bag Campaigns or Plastic Bag Collections and there are more than 10 of these events around the country in honor of America Recycles Day.