Subaru of America, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Recycle Across America (RAA) have donated RAA's standardized recycling label system to support the automaker's zero-landfill initiative currently being piloted at three national parks. The donation aims to decrease landfill waste from parks by revitalizing recycling participation, replacing conflicting signs and messaging with the RAA system to help visitors recycle easily and effectively, the organizations say.
During a study of the waste stream generated at the three pilot parks—Yosemite, Grand Teton and Denali—researchers learned that among the highest volume of waste were paper, plastics and glass. Easily recycled materials were heading to the landfill instead of the recycling bins, contributing to inefficient use of landfill space and higher hauling fees.
After an audit of established recycling messaging and signage, the auditors discovered conflicting messaging and signage, making it difficult for visitors to identify the proper bins for trash, paper, plastics and glass, Subaru states in a news release. Subaru and the National Parks Conservation Association identified RAA's standardized labeling system for recycling bins, an emerging best practice in the industry, as a solution.
To make recycling less confusing for the public, RAA developed standardized labels for recycling bins in 2010. RAA labels use a consistent design that includes simple imagery, descriptions and color-coding to create an easy-to-understand recycling system. Today, more than 1.25 million RAA labels are in use across the U.S.
The pilot program with the three national parks and their concession partners provides an opportunity to evaluate the labels and determine if they improve recycling levels and lower the trash hauling fees at each park.
"Our research revealed that a shocking number of Americans are unaware of the waste management challenges facing national parks but that many of them would be willing to make a significant effort to reduce the amount of trash left in parks," says Denise Coogan, environmental partnership manager of Subaru. "At Subaru, we are committed to spreading awareness of these issues and helping make meaningful change in the parks. We are excited to be working with RAA and hope that these standardized labels will help to reduce confusion and increase proper recycling."
"We are honored that Subaru and the National Parks Conservation Association chose to work with us and provided the standardized labels to Yosemite National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Denali National Park and Preserve," says Mitch Hedlund, executive director of RAA. "It is more important than ever that recycling begin to thrive and be economically viable, as many recycling plants in the U.S. are struggling to stay open. Public confusion at the bin is a root cause of this, which is the impetus for the standardized labels—to make it easier for people to recycle more and recycle right, wherever they might be."