Your America Recycles Day Toolkit: 20 Tips and More

America Recycles Day is November 15. This ARD toolkit contains recycling tips, facts you can share, and ideas for helping your business make an impact on America Recycles Day, even at the last minute. 

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.

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

Last Minute Ideas 

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 87,000 people have already made the commitment.

SHOWCASE YOUR SUCCESS: Show your staff, tenants, and clients how their recycling efforts have helped to make a difference. Share data, tell recycling success stories, or calculate the environmental impact of your recycling efforts.  Consider creating a poster or banner for display in your lobby to showcase your shared recycling accomplishments.

SAY THANK YOU: Recycling is a team effort. Motivate your team by showing your appreciation. It can be as simple as saying “thank you” in an email. Or go one step further and throw a small Zero Waste office party to celebrate.

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. It’s another easy way to motivate your team.

COMPETE OR CAMPAIGN: Organize a friendly recycling competition between departments or floors, or 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 send in messages about why they recycle.

THINK DIGITALLY:  Share useful recycling resources to help your employees, colleagues and tenants recycle more at home and at work. Ask us about available digital resources and media, such as our digital Zero Waste roadmap, recycling FAQs, or videos like these: paper recycling tip  and cardboard recycling tip.

Have More Time? 

Plan an 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
  • Recycling drives
  • Recycling games and quizzes
  • Recycling displays

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

Quick Fix 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 your business/building 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.

Kick-Start Lasting Change

Use America Recycles Day to kick-start long-term change at your business/building.

Start by working your way through this checklist of  20 TIPS that will help set your business on the path to reducing waste and increasing recycling in the most efficient and cost effective way. Pick one or take them all on. Plan to complete them all by next year’s America Recycles Day.

You can also learn how to  succeed in recycling by following these 3 steps. It is a tried and tested proven strategy.

Finally…Why Recycle?

… because 62% of trash is NOT trash!

DID YOU KNOW….a staggering 62% of material found in a building’s trash stream is NOT trash at all, but is made up of recyclables or materials that can, and should, be diverted through other means. This means that currently most buildings are paying to send more materials to the landfill than they need to.

This was the finding of the largest and most comprehensive waste characterization study to date focused on commercial buildings, utilizing data collected through waste audits conducted by Great Forest in 2019 at over 100 buildings across the US and internationally, analyzing over 170,000 pounds of waste.  Here is a breakdown of recyclables typically discarded in a building’s trash steam.

  • 36% organics
  • 14% Glass/Metal/Plastic
  • 10% Paper
  • 1% cardboard
  • < 1% electronic waste
    The remaining 38% consist of what the industry calls “residuals” — materials that cannot be recycled, composted, or otherwise diverted using conventional waste management infrastructure.

… because waste is increasing, but the recycling rate is flat

As the amount of waste generated has accelerated over the years, waste is becoming harder to ignore, and also more expensive to deal with.  According to the EPA, 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) was generated in the U.S. in 2018 (up from 268.7 million tons generated in 2017, and the 208.3 million tons in 1990.) At the same time, the U.S. recycling rate has hovered around 30+ percent since 2005, reaching a high of 35.2 percent in 2017, and then dropping to 32.1 percent  in 2018. 

While improving recycling alone will not solve the problem, it is a crucial part of the equation. Reducing and diverting waste is essential. It makes an impact.

DID YOU KNOW… by recycling all of its paper, plastic, and corrugated waste generated in a year, an office building of 7,000 workers could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,200 metric tons of carbon equivalent. This is equivalent to taking 900 cars off the road in one year. (EPA, “Solid Waste and Emergency Response,” EPA 530-F-02-034, 2002)

Why is America Recycles Day Still Relevant?

If you still need a reason, read this: Why We Need America Recycles Day

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