By Paula Felps on Nov 7, 2013

America Recycles Day Is Nov. 15. What Will You Pledge to Recycle?

Students in Minnesota didn't let cold weather keep them from participating in America Recycles Day. Photo: Keep America Beautiful

Students in Minnesota didn’t let cold weather keep them from participating in America Recycles Day. Photo: Keep America Beautiful

Last year, nearly 600 people visited the Cincinnati Zoo on Nov. 15 for one specific reason — to learn about waste reduction, recycling and conservation. An initiative between the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District in Ohio and the Cincinnati Zoo, the all-day event used special stations to educate children and adults on such topics as how they could save gorilla habitats by recycling cellphones.

The event was one of thousands held in the U.S. as part of the annual America Recycles Day, which has been sponsored by Keep America Beautiful since 1997. Interest and participation in the day has grown each year, and last year it attracted more than 2.1 million participants in some 2,065 registered events.

This year’s theme, “I Want to Be Recycled,”  is geared toward educating people about the importance of recycling. As part of that education, programs will teach people about how it helps both the economy and the environment. Organizers aim to motivate “occasional” recyclers to become active participants on a daily basis.

“This campaign is the emotional push needed to raise awareness and positively change people’s behavior to recycle more,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, for Keep America Beautiful. “Based on survey feedback, we know people want to recycle. This campaign is designed to tap into that desire as well as provide helpful tools to make recycling easier.”

She says that increased recycling rates translate into measurable benefits, “including waste reduction, energy savings, natural resource conservation and job creation.”

Although the “official” day for America Recycles Day is Nov. 15, which falls on a Friday this year, many event organizers host it on weekends before or after the 15th, according to the organization. The special events can even be held at other times, although Keep America Beautiful prefers that they are held in the fall.

Next page: Creative event ideas

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