What is America Recycles Day?

Nov 10, 2021

Recycling blog post

November 15 – otherwise known as America Recycles Day (ARD) – is right around the corner. And with it, a special sense of hope.

Curiosity around ARD seems to grow with each passing year. And while it certainly sounds like a day with a rich backstory all its own, very few American households really know that story.

So this year, to celebrate that special sense of hope recycling has brought to our economies and sustainability efforts, we want to share the ARD story with you.

The History of ARD

ARD’s story really begins back in 1994 in the great state of Texas, when two employees of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (Kevin Tuerff and Valerie Davis) came together to find ways to boost recycling awareness in their state.

Initially, their idea was to conduct a six-week long campaign to promote the concept of recycling. After a bit more brainstorming though, they came to the conclusion that what they really needed was a day. Not just any day, though. They needed a day that was far enough from Earth Day (April 22) that no one would be confused, but that also wasn’t going to interfere with Election Day or the holidays. So, they landed on November 15.

At first, they called it “Texas Recycles Day.” But when they left their government jobs to join a sustainability-focused public relations agency, they decided to change the name to “America Recycles Day.”

Thus, the nationwide ARD was officially celebrated for the first time on November 15, 1997. And by October 1 of that same year, the NRC (National Recycling Coalition) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) were sponsoring a national press conference about ARD at the White House itself. The event was total hit, complete with its own “Buy Recycled” theme and “American Green Dream House” giveaway (in which a raffle winner won an entire home built with energy-efficient products and recycled materials).

Over the years, more and more states have begun participating in ARD though art-made-from-trash art shows, local fairs, community composting demonstrations, and more.

Today, ARD is mainly promoted by the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) organization. Their creative video ads continue to be available for distribution across local communities. One famous ad features a plastic bottle roaming the streets, wishing it could be transformed into a park bench. Another features a shampoo bottle with the dream of becoming a hairbrush.

The Importance of Recycling

Even though ARD has resulted in an average of 1,500,000 community event attendees and over 73,800 people pledging to start recycling across the county annually, only 32% of Americans today are regular recyclers.

The more American households that recycle, the more sustainable our consumer-based culture becomes for upcoming generations.

And practicing recycling isn’t just good for the planet – it’s also good for our wallets. In a commodities-based market, it actually has the potential to inject new life and safety nets into our economy.

At Waste Connections, we understand that good recycling practices start with a solid educational understanding about what that process looks like in various areas.

For that reason, we’ve created helpful resources for all of our customers and neighbors to take advantage of. So if you want to stay up-to-date with the latest recycling trends and developments, download our free mobile app today or visit our informative local websites.

Happy America Recycles Day, and happy recycling!

Location: CHICAGO, IL, USA

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