The EPA estimates that 75% of the waste stream in the U.S. is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it. So, it’s more important than ever to promote a successful America Recycles Day that will hopefully encourage your residents to divert more waste for the rest of the year.
With this year’s America Recycles Day coming up on Wednesday November 15th, here are 7 impactful ways to help you make this year the best one yet:
- Win-Win Contests
- Perform random inspections of blue carts/bins during the week – and those households sorted correctly can be entered to win a gift card or a local prize, such as free groceries.
- Designate certain locations around the city (such as parks, school campuses) and those caught using a reusable water bottle or mug have a chance to win a prize.
- Host a contest related to your key America Recycles Day message. For example, if one of your messages is to keep e-waste out of the landfill, then challenge your residents and schools to bring in as many old mobile devices and accessories as possible. The person and/or school that brings in the most devices wins a prize.
If you’re looking for a cell phone drop-off program for your city, click here for a list of companies that offer electronics drop-off or recycling programs to collaborate with.
- Tip of the Day
People are bombarded with information all the time. So, focus on one important tip or message – something that you want them to do for that day, and drive it home.
Topics can revolve around paper towels, disposable coffee pods, food waste, produce bags, fixing broken items, or as simple as choosing ice cream cones over cups and spoons.
Some great ideas for tip of the day, challenges, and shareable stories can be found on the official America Recycles Day website.
- “The children are our future” – So Get Them Involved!
So ensure that students from K-12 are a big target of your America Recycles Day campaigns.
How can you target them?
- Speak at local schools. Talk about the schools’ waste reduction initiatives and events planned for America Recycles Day.
- Share educational videos with students. Here’s a collection of some shareable recycle/reuse videos from GreenShortz.
- Encourage and help teachers implement programs and/or activities in their classrooms.
This can be creating recycled crafts, creating a recycling board for the classroom (you can supply them with the correct information and offer to check), or have students help implement and manage a recycling/composting program in the school.
- Help them host a waste-free lunch for the day challenge.
Every day, over 20,000,000 sandwich bags from school lunches in the U.S. are thrown away. That’s not considering juice boxes, food waste, paper napkins and paper lunch bags.
Remember, as DJ, a science teacher at Glenelg School in Abu Dhabi puts it:
“It’s never too early to educate students on the benefits of recycling. The younger you start, the more natural it becomes and eventually it is just second nature.
- Involve Your Residents in the Recycling Process
Offer free tours of your Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) if possible. You can also offer free shuttle buses from schools to encourage students to participate. This encourages residents to take more accountability for what they throw into the garbage instead of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.
If you’re unable to offer a tour of your MRF, there’s an option to take a virtual tour through this website.
- Workshops Work
There’s nothing quite like being there in-person, along with other like-minded individuals, learning how to do something from an expert. So, host some workshops for your residents:
- Composting demonstration (you can provide free worms as an incentive and provide personalized recommendations on a compost system best for each attendee)
- Repair workshops
- Waste free living
- Let Your Residents Help Spread Your Message
The more people and channels you use to spread your message, the bigger the reach and impact you’ll have in your municipality. Free ways you can do this include:
- Provide residents with materials they can bring to their work place, schools, neighbors, and more. This can include downloadable posters, flyers, e-postcards, and other ads.
- Post shareable content on social media.
- Encourage residents to tweet tips and/or why they recycle using a specific hashtag for your municipality. It should be short, memorable and unique. You and any resident will be able to see all tips and posts tagged with that unique hashtag.
- Get your message straight to your residents’ smartphone using Recycle Coach’s real-time notification system.
- Say YES to Fun and Social Activities.
Show that Waste Reduction Week can be fun for the whole family:
- Screen movies/videos related to waste reduction at a local theatre, such as a library theatre or a make-shift theatre at city hall. Good titles include Just Eat It (A 75-minute documentary film about food waste and food rescue by Peg Leg Films) and Minimalism (A documentary about how your life might be better with less).
- Host a city-wide garage sale to encourage reusing items instead of throwing it away.
- Get on social media - in a fun, educational way. Invite your residents to use Recycle Coach's "What Goes Where?" chatbot - just message Recycle Coach on Facebook and ask the bot how to dispose of any item. Contact us to learn how you can customize the search results for your specific municipality.
What things will you be doing for this year's America Recycles Day? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
About Recycle Coach: Recycle Coach specializes in digital solutions for municipal and private waste management services to effectively educate and engage residents. Our technology platforms for web, mobile, and digital assistants focus on education and encouragement to help residents to be better recyclers, with the goal of inspiring positive and lasting change in communities around the world. It is our constant innovation and scalability of services that allow us to meet the needs of over 3000 communities across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more.
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