November 15th is America Recycles Day

RecyclingFor a large percentage of Americans, recycling is fast becoming a way of life.

More households are participating in home recycling and businesses are slowly making the shift as well. Even so, there are still communities – including the one I recently moved to – that still don’t have curbside recycling.

Some places like California and especially the San Francisco Bay area are doing well above the average in recycling rates. But as a country we definitely need to do more.

The United States lags way behind folks in Europe. Countries like Germany and Austria have completely eliminated the need for landfills, while Belgium and Sweden are down to 1% use.

Americans currently recycle 34 percent of all recyclable materials. Although we’ve seen a steady increase in recycling rates over the years, that still means that 66 percent of recyclables still end up in landfills.

America Recycles Day logoMore organizations are jumping on the recycling bandwagon. Athletic stadiums and national sports teams have begun recycling at their events. Colleges have joined in healthy competition to see who can recycle the most.

To encourage Americans to recycle more, Keep America Beautiful, the national sponsor of the annual America Recycles Day, has launched a contest called America Recycles Day #BeRecycled Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes closes at 11:59:59 PM EDT on November 18th. Access and rules can be found on the KAB Facebook page and it does not require a Facebook login for entry, just the participant’s name, email and zip code. A bonus entry will be rewarded to participants who share a unique URL with friends and family.

The grand prize will include a $1,000 gift card to Hayneedle, a cool online home furnishings and decor retailer that offers a selection of Green Living products among the world’s largest outdoor living selection, including many made from recycled content. Second prize is a pair of Trex planter boxes made from 95-percent-recycled content, and third prize is a $250 Hayneedle gift card.

Recycle“#BeRecycled is a call-to-action to invite individuals to actively pursue and live a recycled lifestyle,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “We encourage everyone to take the #BeRecycled Pledge and to commit to the ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.’ (the 3 R’s) mantra in every aspect of their lives.”

And for those who aren’t aware, there are plenty of products that are made with recycled content. Just check out stories written about organizations like TerraCycle and its take-back campaigns to see how some of this happens.

“Make a pledge to buy those items over the traditional versions,” said Pulley.

Don’t want to do a sweepstakes but want to do something? No problem. If you have curbside recycling, check with your city’s Solid Waste division to see the list of what they accept for recycling. If you don’t have the program in place, almost every city has recycling bins somewhere. Make a call and locate them. Then start collecting what they’ll accept – at the very least newspaper, glass and cans – then be sure to make a weekly trip to toss them in the bins. It’s just one thing we can all do to help the enviroment and reduce the huge amount of waste that ends up in our landfills.


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