The holiday season can officially begin on November 15: America Recycles Day. Yes, indeed, recycling is so important that it even has its own holiday.
In case you’re just now finding out about America Recycles Day, take a look at my handy cheat sheet — it’ll clue you in to what you need to know and, most important, how you can help celebrate.
- America Recycles Day is a real thing! Started in 1997, Keep America Beautiful manages the nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling efforts.
- During last year’s America Recycles Day, there were more than 2,000 recycling events held across the country, with more than 2.1 million participants. Throughout the day, 3.77 million pounds of recyclables were collected — the environmental equivalent (in terms of greenhouse gas) of taking 280 cars off the road permanently.
- The current rate of recycling in America is 34.7 percent. The organizers of America Recycles Day are hoping that their efforts will help continue the 30-year trend of increasing recycling efforts each year.
- It’s not too late to get involved. Log on to America Recycles Day to find a recycling event in your neighborhood. You can also register your own event. It doesn’t have to be on November 15 — there are events throughout the Fall that are affiliated with America Recycles Day.
- Even if you can’t attend an event, you can still participate by taking a pledge at AmericaRecyclesDay.org — either as an individual or as a business — to be more proactive about recycling. This year’s pledge is to learn more about what materials are acceptable for recycling, to recycle more, and to help spread the word by encouraging others to take the pledge. Businesses who pledge are encouraged to try to increase their recycling programs by 10 percent within the next 2 years.
- One way to celebrate: Learn more about recycling and find recycling programs in your area. AmericaRecyclesDay.org has a lot of great information about recycling, and of course, you can always read more about recycling in Live Green.
- Then, celebrate by recycling right. Keep America Beautiful recommends ways to increase your recycling in a few easy ways: Rip off the top of your pizza box and recycle just that (food-covered cardboard can’t be recycled). If you can’t commit to a compost pile, just add biodegradeable, compostable foods like coffee grounds or eggshells right to your garden or window boxes. When you’re taking plastic grocery bags to a recycling collection point, don’t forget other plastic like (clean) bread bags, newspaper bags and dry cleaning wrapping.
- Consider America Recycles Day as a chance to make resolutions for the coming year. Are there areas for improvement in your home recycling practices? For me, this year I’m resolving to start a compost pile once and for all, so I can turn food scraps into rich nutrients for my garden, rather than send them to the landfill. For you, it might be getting better about recycling items from the bathroom, or finding a place that accepts batteries and electronics for recycling.