Recycle Across America (RAA), Minneapolis, has announced a $250,000 grant from Bank of America designed to help the nonprofit improve recycling and reduce contamination in local communities and schools with the use of its standardized labels for recycling bins. Since 2015, the bank has provided $400,000 in grant funding to RAA, helping more than 1 million K-12 students recycle right and has helped school districts save more than $5 million in trash-hauling fees, RAA says in a news release announcing the grant.
“Bank of America’s grant program is helping us quickly scale this critical solution to a national level at a time when U.S. recycling most needs it,” says Mitch Hedlund, RAA executive director. “Much like standardized road signs allow the public to drive properly anywhere in the U.S., the societywide standardized labels are helping people recycle properly and are proven to increase recycling levels 50 to 400 percent.”
She adds, “We’re incredibly grateful to Bank of America for its leadership with this environmental, societal and economic solution, which is helping students recycle right and school districts save millions of dollars.”
Previously through Bank of America’s grant support, thousands of standardized labels were donated to the Orange County School district in Orlando, Florida, which is the ninth largest school district in the U.S., with more than 210,000 students. In the first year of using the labels, its recycling levels increased 90 percent.
“With more than 157 languages and dialects spoken, the Recycle Across America labels have made ‘recycling right’ universally understood for our students and staff,” says Jennifer Fowler, director of environmental compliance at Orange County Public Schools. “Since July 2016, Orange County Public Schools has increased recycling by over 5,000 tons. In addition, the recycling program saved the school district over $1 million in expenditures during the 2017-2018 school year alone.”
This new grant from Bank of America enables RAA to provide standardized labels to 1,000 schools, which will help hundreds of thousands of students recycle properly, the nonprofit says. Placing recyclables in the proper bins helps improve the efficacy and viability of recycling by reducing contamination, making processing of recyclables more cost-effective and making recyclables more desirable for manufacturers.
“In addition to supporting the distribution of the standardized labels for recycling bins in school districts around the country, Bank of America is displaying the labels on recycling bins in many of our office locations,” says Rich Brown, environmental program director at Bank of America.
“This is all part of our ongoing efforts to help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy,” he adds.
The most recent grant to RAA is part of Bank of America’s broader commitment to improving the environment and accelerating the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. It also has committed to carbon neutrality and purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020.