Since recycling started to gain popularity in the 1960s, it has taken on a life of its own. Today, recycling helps limit waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, unite environmentally-minded individuals, and so much more. While millions have adopted recycling as part of their everyday life, there is still more to be done to help raise awareness and increase recycling efforts throughout the world. America Recycles Day is a Keep America Beautiful Program that aims to do just that by raising awareness about recycling and promoting the use and purchase of recycled products and goods every November 15. Keep reading to find out more about this nationally recognized day and how you can get involved this year.
How to Get Involved
Since 1997, when the National Recycling Coalition started America Recycles Day, countless people have volunteered their time, donated money, and participated in local events. If you are looking to do your part this year, then you are in luck. Getting involved is easy, and chances are, there is already an event happening near you to join. If not, don’t worry. You can register, organize, and attend your very own America Recycles Day event in your city.
Register Your Event
If you want to help organize and attend your own event for your school, work, or community, the first thing you will need to do is register your event online using the America Recycles’ event registration page. You will need to register an account, login using a username and password, then fill out all the required information. You will need to know when and where the event will take place before you register. After your event is registered, you will get an event number and your event will appear on their interactive map.
Organize an Event
America Recycles Day allows for a wide range of events. If you are organizing an event this year either on your own or with some friends, there are many free online tools, tips, and resources to help you get started. Remember, you will also need to help promote your event and make accommodations for attendees. You can check out the America Recycles Day website to download a toolkit for your event that includes ideas, printouts, and other materials you may need. Event activity ideas include:
- Media Engagement
- Electronics Recycling
- Recycling Pledges
- Recycling Competition
Attend an Event
Once November 15 finally arrives, all your hard work and planning will pay off as you help raise awareness for recycling. However, you don’t have to create your own event to attend one. Simply visit the America Recycles Day event page to search for open events in your area. You should be able to find a time and location that works best for your schedule, but keep checking until the Day of the event because new events can be added anytime.
EPA Recycling Resources
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is very supportive of America Recycles Day. In 2018, the EPA hosted an America Recycles Day Summit, where 45 organizations signed an America Recycles Pledge. This pledge states these organizations will work together to support the recycling system in the United States. The EPA is also an excellent resource for information on how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle, including information on how to recycle your old electronics. You can learn more by visiting the EPA’s America Recycles webpage.
Recycling Facts You Didn’t Know
Americans produce tons of garbage each year. While the U.S. only accounts for about 4% of the world’s population, it produces around 30% of the world’s waste! Some estimate the average American throws away 2,555 pounds of materials every year.  Below are a few more shocking facts about trash and waste that help illustrate the growing need for recycling awareness.
- Recycling one-tenth of America’s newspapers could save around 250 million trees every year. 
- Americans use about 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, and most are never recycled. 
- Recycling helps generate jobs—about 7-10 more compared to landfills or waste energy plants. 
- According to the EPA, an average American’s waste includes 75% recyclable materials, but only 30% actually gets recycled. 
- About 1 billion trees worth of recyclable paper gets thrown away each year in the United States. 
- Recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution, and 75% less processed energy compared to paper made from virgin fibers. 
- “Trash in America: Frontier Group.” Trash in America | Frontier Group, 12 Feb. 2018, frontiergroup.org/reports/fg/trash-america.
- Usi. “Recycling Facts.” University of Southern Indiana, https://www.usi.edu/recycle/paper-recycling-facts/.
- Usi. “Recycling Facts.” University of Southern Indiana, https://www.usi.edu/recycle/plastic-recycling-facts/.
- “RECYCLING FACTS.” Recycleacrossamerica, www.recycleacrossamerica.org/recycling-facts.
- “11 Facts About Recycling.” DoSomething.org, www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-recycling#fn3.
- “Aluminum Recycling Facts.” Recycling Facts – A Recycling Revolution, www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html.
- “West Hills.” Recycling Facts & Tips, www.wm.com/location/california/ventura-county/west-hills/recycle/facts.jsp.