Companies, industry groups and government agencies are celebrating America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. The following are some of the events and announcements in the lead-up to the annual celebration.
This year’s themes: According to Keep America Beautiful, the themes of this year’s event are “innovation” and “partnership.” The group is working with the U.S. EPA on a series of initiatives this week. For example, the first was a ceremony at El Paso, Texas-based Fort Bliss on Monday. The Southwest military installation was selected as a pilot Net Zero Waste installation, which means it considers the waste stream when buying goods and reuses and recycles as much as possible. It has notched a 50% diversion rate.
Congressional briefing: The fourth-annual State of Recycling Caucus Briefing will take place in the nation’s capital on Nov. 13. Moderated by Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the event will include a panel with representatives from Clearwater Paper, Dell, LyondellBasell, Nestlé Waters, and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. It will be hosted by House of Representatives Recycling Caucus co-chairs Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., and John Shimkus, R.-Ill.
Innovation fair: Also in Washington, D.C., the U.S. EPA will host an America Recycles Innovation Fair on Nov. 14. The first-ever event will showcase recycling innovators. “By encouraging new ideas and learning from each other, we can find solutions to enhance our recycling infrastructure, create new markets for recycled materials, and improve education and outreach about recycling,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated in a press release. “Spurring innovation in the domestic recycling industry helps protect the environment, saves valuable resources, creates jobs and provides high-quality materials for American manufacturers.” The event is a collaboration between EPA and ISRI, Keep America Beautiful, the Solid Waste Association of North America and The Recycling Partnership.
Electronics recycling event: Television brand TCL will kick off its first free electronics recycling event at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. on Nov. 15. At the event, residents can either drive through and drop off their old electronics, or they can park and enjoy food and prizes at a TCL event. An In-N-Out Burger Truck will provide free food to residents who drop off their electronics. Nationwide electronics recycling company ERI will process the materials collected. The event is the first in a series to be hosted by TCL across the U.S.
America Recycles Day Summit: The EPA will convene government, industry and nonprofit leaders for the second America Recycles Summit on Nov. 15. “The summit will be an opportunity for leaders in the recycled materials economy value chain to share their perspective on how the federal government can continue to support efforts to strengthen the U.S. recycling system,” according to the event description. According to ISRI, Wheeler will preside over this year’s summit. The event will be livestreamed.
Retailer’s outreach campaign: On Nov. 16, Walmart will launch a pilot of its Walmart Recycle Together program in 113 stores across New Jersey and Massachusetts. As part of the program, Walmart created an in-store and digital campaign for customers focused on packaging recycling. “The program aims to inspire Walmart customers to take action to reduce plastic waste by recycling at home, or in their local communities, and educate customers about what can and can’t be recycled in order to clean the recycling stream,” according to a press release. The Recycling Partnership is working with Walmart to put on the campaign. In related news, Walmart recently unveiled an updated version of its Recycling Playbook, which was first launched in February.
Film recycling pilot project: Two Seattle companies are working together to collect and recycle plastic used to ship e-commerce products. According to a press release, Seattle residents can participate by signing up with Ridwell, which will collect films used to ship products (bubble mailers, air pillows, etc.) at residents’ homes. Ridwell will send them to packaging company PAC Worldwide, which will recycle them into pellets used to make new plastic products. As part of the America Recycles Day celebration, PAC will also make its U.S. plants drop-off points for all films. Those plants are located in Redmond, Wash.; Middletown, Ohio; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Phoenix. The press release noted Seattle has a ban on placing film in curbside recycling carts coming into effect in 2020.
State recycling group signs pledge: Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW) joined dozens of groups nationwide in signing the America Recycles Pledge, according to the state recycling group. The pledge was led by the U.S. EPA and developed during the 2018 America Recycles Day Summit. “As Wisconsin’s leader in educating the public about waste reduction and recycling, signing the pledge reaffirms our commitment to the future of recycling,” said Meleesa Johnson, AROW’s president.
Denim recycling campaign: A national denim recycling awareness initiative has kicked off for America Recycles Day. The effort is by Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program. To participate, people snap a photo of a stack of their denim jeans and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #DenimStackChallenge. People can also print out a free shipping label and mail their old jeans to Zappos for recycling into insulation.
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