Companies focus on sustainability on America Recycles Day
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Companies focus on sustainability on America Recycles Day

The Keep America Beautiful national program acknowledges the importance of recycling each year.


In its 23rd year, America Recycles Day is celebrated Nov. 15 to inspire more recycling across the country. Companies take part each year. Here are a few initiatives tied to America Recycles Day that are working to increase sustainability and recycling.


This year, Atlanta-based Call2Recycle is encouraging consumers to expand their recycling efforts and include batteries.

Call2Recycle says this effort is to make sure more items are recycled, such as electronics. 

“Recycling goes beyond separating our paper and plastic. The common cordless devices in our home – like power tools, laptops, cellphones and even toothbrushes – contain a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that also needs to be safely stored and recycled,” says Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle.

With the impact of the ongoing pandemic, Call2Recycle sees America Recycles Day as an opportunity to further educate consumers on the importance of battery recycling and encourage them to become environmental stewards while at home.

“America Recycles Day is a great time for consumers, manufacturers, and their families to become more engaged and recommit their efforts to living a more sustainable lifestyle,” adds Smith. “While many industries have faced declining sales during COVID-19, the use of home electronics and the batteries to power them continues to go up. This is a trend that requires all of us to be more responsible with their end-of-life management.”

Frost & Sullivan

With COVID-19 generating more single-use materials, Santa Clara, California-based Frost & Sullivan shared three areas of development in waste and recycling for America Recycles Day.

Frost & Sullivan’s sustainability team finds refocusing stakeholder efforts to improve market competitiveness is central to its future growth success.

“Global markets were already responding to bans on international destinations of waste and recycling materials, and the ongoing disruptions within 2020 require even further adjustments to balance the market,” explains Seth Cutler, principal consultant for sustainability at Frost & Sullivan.

 “A combination of unsustainable practices, increasing regulation and public demand for change, and industry disruptions from international trade reductions and COVID-19 have come together to demand fundamental change in how waste and recycling is managed globally,” adds Cutler. “Moving forward, government entities, waste and recycling management organizations, and the greater public will increasingly demand more sustainable practices. Frost & Sullivan recognizes three development areas that highlight just some of the opportunities seen through innovation and investment.”

The three areas of development in waste and recycling that show particular promise include:

1. Waste to methanol: Enerkem, based in Canada, produces ethanol, biomethanol and renewable chemicals from nonrecyclable and noncompostable waste. It is partnering with the Port of Rotterdam, AkzoNobel and Air Liquide to develop a facility capable of converting 350,000 tons of waste, including plastic, into 270 million liters of methanol a year.

2. Artificial intelligence, robotics and drones: Sensors attached to garbage bins and dumpsters measure waste levels and send data to schedule timely collection. Sensors can read, collect and transmit data on volume and content type to optimize collection and disposal by leveraging machine-learning capabilities. Drones add aerial monitoring to gauge the level of gases, especially poisonous ones, which escape landfills to ensure site operators are alerted and mitigation efforts are undertaken. 

3. Landfill diversion, zero landfill targets and waste to energy (W2E): W2E is classified as a renewable energy source. It is leveraged worldwide to convert waste materials into energy, which diverts the volumes away from landfills. China is a global leader in W2E and generated roughly 6.8 gigawatts of energy from waste by the end of 2017.


The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, highlights the important role of those working in the recycling industry on this year’s America Recycles Day.

“Each year America Recycles Day provides us with an opportunity to recognize the critically essential role recycling plays in our everyday lives, as well as celebrate the men and women who are devoted to ensuring the industry remains strong,” says ISRI President Robin Wiener. “We encourage every individual to take a moment on this day to learn more about the strength of the industry and its significant impact on everything from the products we consume to the planet we call home.”

The U.S. scrap recycling industry provides the high value, environmentally friendly and energy-saving raw materials that feed critical U.S. manufacturing operations. As the first link in the manufacturing supply chain, scrap recycling has been integral to the U.S. economy, job creation, resource sustainability, energy savings and global trade. 

Recycling is a vital step toward building a sustainable future, the association says. It conserves limited natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by significantly saving the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build and use every day. The energy saved by recycling may then be used for other purposes, such as heating our homes and powering our automobiles, ISRI adds.


PepsiCo Recycling, a division of Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo, and six PepsiCo Beverage North America (PBNA) beverage brands are joining together for PBNA’s first-ever cross-branded sustainability campaign to inspire consumers to recycle at home.

Recycle at Home aims to motivate consumers to take actionable steps to incorporate recycling into their daily lives as families spend more time at home. On their Twitter feeds on America Recycles Day, KeVita, Lipton, PureLeaf, Izze, Naked Juice and Bubly asked consumers to answer one simple question: “Why do you recycle at home?” for a chance to win a cash prize.

The co-branded awareness campaign aligns with PBNA’s commitments to design 100 percent of packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable and increase recycled content in all of its plastic packaging to 25 percent by 2025. PepsiCo Recycling works with local communities to make recycling work and advance PepsiCo’s vision of a world where plastic need never become waste.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its National Recycling Goals and will share more during the America Recycles: Summit and Innovation Fair Nov. 16 and 17.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Springs, Maryland, will participate in the summit as well.

Two years ago, SWANA joined 45 other organizations and signed the America Recycles Pledge to work toward improving recycling in the United States. During the past 12 months, EPA has converted the National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System into a proposed National Recycling Strategy and the National Recycling Goals, which will be announced at the Summit.

“SWANA is excited to assist EPA in implementing the National Recycling Strategy,” says David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO. “Last week’s EPA report identified a decline in the percentage of municipal solid waste that is recycled in the United States and highlights the need for EPA’s leadership. SWANA is committed to working with EPA and other stakeholders to successfully implement the new strategy and achieve the new national recycling goals, through education, research and communication, to our more than 10,000 members throughout the United States.”

SWANA calls on Congress to provide funding to local governments and others in support of U.S. recycling programs. Very few local governments have funds available to modernize their recycling facilities or to increase or update their current recycling education initiatives.

SWANA believes the National Recycling Goals and the proposed National Recycling Strategy will support state and local government efforts, as well as those by the private sector, to improve the U.S. recycling system.

Nov. 18 and 19, SWANA and ISRI will be hosting the MRF Summit. Peter Wright, EPA assistant administrator, will be speaking at the virtual event to discuss EPA’s efforts through the America Recycles Network.