Sustainability 101

Your America Recycles Day Toolkit: 20 Tips and More

America Recycles Day is November 15.

While recycling should be a year-round activity, America Recycles Day is a great opportunity to put the spotlight on recycling to showcase your accomplishments and remind everyone that recycling is a team effort. Together, we can reduce, reuse and recycle right. 

DID YOU KNOW… an office building with 7,000 workers could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,200 metric tons of carbon simply by RECYCLING all of the paper, plastic, and corrugated waste it generates in one year? This is equivalent to taking 900 cars off the road for an entire year!

Need help preparing for Nov. 15? Give us a call or read on for some ideas.

2020 Update: COVID has changed the way many America Recycles Day activities will happen this year. Ask us about Great Forest virtual events. 

Recycling Figures At A Glance

First, you may ask, why do we even need to raise awareness about recycling? 

Sadly, its because many recyclables never find their way to the recycling facility. In fact, over half of our waste end up in the landfill. As of 2017, according to the EPA

  • 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated in the U.S. in 2017, or 4.51 pounds per person per day.
  • 35.2% recycling rate (67 million tons of MSW were recycled, 27 million tons were composted) 
  • 12.7% was combusted (34 million tons of MSW)
  • 52.1% was landfilled (139 million tons of MSW)

Only Have Time To Do One Thing? 

Here are some easy things you can plan for America Recycles Day, even at the very last minute:

TAKE A PLEDGE: Take the America Recycles Day #BeRecycled pledge and encourage everyone you know to do so.  This is an easy way for businesses to raise awareness about recycling and encourage staff and tenants to get involved. Over 83,000 people have already made the commitment.

SAY THANK YOU: Show your staff, tenants, and clients how their recycling efforts have helped to make a difference. It could be as simple as saying “thank you” in person at a meeting, or sharing your recycling success story in an email. If you plan just a little ahead, you can create a poster or banner for display in your lobby to showcase your shared recycling accomplishments.

ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS: Involve and engage colleagues, tenants and employees by asking them for ideas on how to boost recycling and reduce waste in the company or building. After all, recycling is a collective effort.

START A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN to help generate excitement about recycling. For example, you can engage employees and tenants  by asking them to share photos of themselves recycling, or share messages about why they recycle.

THINK DIGITAL:  Share recycling tips and facts via email or online. Ask us about digital resources and media that you can share or use for screens in your elevators and more, like these two six-second videos: paper recycling tip  and cardboard recycling tip,  or our 30 Days to Zero Waste guide.

Plan an America Recycles Day Event

Every America Recycles Day, Great Forest organizes events that are fun and educational . Need inspiration? Click here to see what we have done in the past. Events can include:

  • “Lunch and Learn” lectures
  • Book readings
  • recycled art sculpture displays
  • recycling games and quizzes
  • recycling competitions

Did you know, you might even be able to Earn Extra LEED Credit For America Recycles Day?

Use This Checklist

Follow or share this checklist of  20 TIPS that will help set you on the path to reducing waste and increasing recycling in the most efficient and cost effective way.

How many have you done?

Move Towards Zero Waste 

This America Recycles Day, let’s transform your waste stream into a value stream, and move towards zero waste. Remember:

  • Effective waste management positively impacts the environment and your business operations.
  • Waste does not have to be an inevitable part of a successful business. Aim for zero waste to highlight your environmental consciousness.
  • With proper separation and management, almost everything within your trash bin can be reutilized as a resource.

Standardize With “Superpower” Stickers

Knowing how to recycle right means knowing how your building’s program works, putting the right items into the right bins, and avoiding contamination. Our standardized recycling stickers from Recycle Across America can help you recycle right by reducing confusion. 

These stickers have reportedly been able to increase recycling, and are part of what has been called the “#1 solution to fix recycling.” See how our standardized labels can help increase recycling.

Understand The Economics of Recycling

Educate yourself and those around you on America Recycles Day. How is the China import ban affecting your waste and recycling costs? And what should you do to manage your waste in a constantly shifting landscape? Here two articles that explain the forces behind rising waste and recycling prices, and what you can do:

Why is America Recycles Day Still Relevant?

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