First day of school pictures are starting to flood social media feeds, and before we know it, we’ll be trading the stifling Texas heat for some cooler fall weather and the much-needed back-to-school routine. For recyclers across Texas and beyond, the start of school also means that one of our favorite holidays, America Recycles Day, is right around the corner!
Fun fact – did you know that America Recycles Day, which is celebrated on or around November 15 of each year, actually was started in Texas? In 1997, the Recycling Coalition of Texas – which is now the State of Alliance for Recycling (STAR) – partnered with EnviroMedia to launch the statewide campaign. The group then realized there was a need for a national public awareness campaign for recycling and that other state recycling organizations were interested in participating in the campaign. And then, America Recycles Day was created! Forty-one states and the Virgin Islands participated in the first America Recycles Day and more than 700,000 people took the pledge to recycle more. By the end of the second year, 44 states across the US hosted nearly 5,000 events, and 2.15 million people took recycling pledges.
This year, 20 years later, there are a ton of creative ways and even more resources you can use to engage and educate your residents and employees for America Recycles Day. Keep America Beautiful, who now administers and runs the national campaign, has a whole slew of resources cities and businesses can use to run events and work with media outlets to get the word out about the campaign. From friendly competitions to clothing swaps, to facility tours – there’s an activity to fit every group celebrating ARD.
America Recycles Day
November 15, 2017
Regardless of what you end up doing for ARD, you might be wondering or might have people ask – why even celebrate recycling? Many of us know that recycling more lessens our dependence on utilizing virgin material in the manufacturing of new products, saving resources and energy. Not only is that beneficial for the environment, but many manufacturers depend on the supply of recycled material to make and sell their products. We have a number of companies right here in Texas that purchase the material you put into your recycling cart every day!
These companies help strengthen local economies by contributing financially and offering Texans competitive salaries and wages to work at their facilities. In fact, in 2015, STAR released a report that showed more than 12,500 jobs in Texas were attributed to the 6 million tons of materials Texans recycled in 2013. And as we keep recycling more, these numbers will continue to increase.
By celebrating America Recycles Day, you really are investing in Texas, and we thank you for helping to keep recycling local and getting the word out that recycling is good for both the environment and the economy. And even better – it’s a whole lot of fun!
This post was contributed by Sara Nichols, Executive Director of State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR)