As programs and companies around the nation take part in the annual U.S. celebration of materials recovery, we chatted with a representative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB).
Tyler Orton is manager of recycling programs at KAB, a national nonprofit that has helped grow America Recycles Day over the past 20 years.
Can you talk about any differences in this year’s America Recycles Day compared to previous years’?
This year, we’re promoting #BeRecycled, which is messaging to individuals about reducing, reusing, recycling, and buying products with recycled content, at all locations. This is about demonstrating that recycling is a lifestyle decision and commitment. America Recycles Day is about encouraging them to think about recycling as more than just recycling bottles and cans in the kitchen but as an action you can take in many venues, many times throughout the day.
America Recycles Day has been celebrated for nearly two decades. Why is this day still relevant to individuals and the recycling community?
America Recycles Day gains value and relevance as time goes on. With the market challenges right now and a high level of skepticism (see our national survey press release) surrounding recycling, America Recycles Day provides an opportunity for recycling educators, coordinators and advocates to talk to their community members about what does and does not belong in the bin, how recycling works and the value that recycling provides whether that’s saving landfill space, conserving energy, creating jobs or providing feedstock for new products.
What are some projects you’re seeing this year that are particularly exciting for you?
We have a set of snapchat filters that we’re providing to anyone who wants to try the platform for America Recycles Day. The pledge redesign is also very exciting to see what materials individuals are committing to recycle. As such, we’ve seen a lot of traction this year with event organizers holding pledge drives.
Finally, the most exciting part is all of the events that happen across the country. Some of my favorites are turning foam into surfboards (Malibu, Calif.), the Basketball Game at George Washington University for America Recycles Day (Washington, D.C.), the school billboard design contest (Georgia) and the State of Recycling Senate Briefing and Livestream Event that is being held today.
If you had one wish for America Recycles Day, what would it be?
This is a doozy, but I would wish that each American would take a moment on America Recycles Day to reflect on the waste they produce and commit to take one action to reduce their personal waste this year.