There’s so much natural beauty to be seen — and to preserve — across the United States. As such, the non-profit organization Keep America Beautiful (KAB) runs multiple nationwide initiatives to, well, keep America beautiful.
Since 1997, on or around November 15, the country has celebrated America Recycles Day, which is one of the aforementioned initiatives led by KAB. Prior to the big day, local communities make pledges to recycle more as they teach environmentalism and promote the practice of recycling. It all culminates in a whole bunch of activities and chances to volunteer on America Recycles Day when it finally arrives.
As you can probably imagine, there are tons of ways to take part, since so many cities and towns pledge their time to improving the reduce-reuse-recycle process. In honor of the 20th year of America Recycles Day here are five examples of how you can volunteer on America Recycles Day:
Book Swap: Honesdale, Pennsylvania
On Saturday, November 18, you can make your way to the Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Book Swap, where locals are encouraged to bring books they’ve already read or titles collecting dust on shelves and in attics. In exchange for handfuls, bags or cars full of books — brought to the site a few days before the swap — you can pick up new reads and bring them home. You can take as many as you want, too.
Plastic Bag Pick-Up: Chicago, IL
Chances are, you have tons of plastic bags laying around that you neither reuse nor recycle. The country has a massive plastic pollution problem, with 9 billion tons of plastic already produced and more being manufactured every day. It’s not a substance that can easily break down in landfills, either, which is why recycling it should be of the utmost importance.
As such, one school in Chicago will have a challenge amongst its homerooms to recycle as many clean plastic shopping bags as possible. You can challenge yourself to finally clean out your supply of bags, or spend the week surrounding America Recycles Day using only canvas or fabric shopping totes that are reusable. Setting up a bag-recycling challenge at your own school or place of work would be a great recycling effort, too.
Recycling Challenge: Charlotte, NC
Here’s another idea of a challenge you can replicate at your local school or even at your workplace. For a week, students at Bain Elementary in Charlotte, NC, are undertaking a recycling challenge where they hope to remove all recyclables from trashcans so that they’re properly reused.
Students will swap from other classrooms to objectively evaluate the trash left in the can: is it recyclable or not? Classes that dispose of trash and recyclables properly win points, and the overall winner at the end of the week gets a prize. This is a model that’s fun and informative and can be replicated in other establishments, too.
3R Bazaar: Woodlands, TX
The 3R Bazaar is a learning experience and a recycling opportunity all rolled into one. At the event, organizers will collect unusual recyclables, including eyeglasses, batteries, flip-flops, cell phones, yard signs and textiles. After dropping off your items, you can learn some reuse strategies of your own and pick up a few useful DIY ideas that’ll also be on display.
Keep Them Warm This Winter: Atlanta, GA
Old towels and blankets falling out of your linen closet? You can offload your extra, unused linens on the Atlanta Humane Society’s Mansell Office. There, they’ll be used — as you can probably guess — to keep animals warm throughout the cold winter months. We can pretty much guarantee you’ll feel good about recycling your older, well-loved items to help homeless pets.
These are just a few of the many, many ways you can get involved this America Recycles Day, November 15, 2017. With 2,400 registered events and counting you can find out how to register an event or how to volunteer on America Recycles Day on the website, there’s sure to be something near you that’ll give you the chance to help the earth first-hand.