Skip to content

As planet Earth gives up billions of tons of its natural resources each year to support the humans who live on it, the health of the planet continues to decline. This makes it more and more important for humans to do what they can and focus on ways that it is possible to reduce waste, reuse items and restore the health of the planet.

One vital way of taking care of the environment and the planet is through the practice of recycling.

Global Recycling Day is here to remind individuals, organizations, corporations and governments that recycling is a key part of the circular economy of humans on the planet. The day is meant to draw attention to and recognize the important part that recycling plays in preserving primary resources. In addition, Global Recycling Day is meant to motivate people into taking action as they seek to help repair and restore global resources.

History of Global Recycling Day

A fairly new day on the docket, Global Recycling Day was first announced in 2015 when the president of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), Ranjit S. Baxi, made a point to bring it to the attention of the World Recycling Convention that same year.

The first celebration of Global Recycling Day was not implemented until a few years later, though, in 2018. The date, March 18, was set to coincide with the 70th birthday of the Bureau of International Recycling.

This day is also supported in collaboration with the Global Recycling Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the industry of recycling around the world, showcasing the vital role of this practice to preserve the future of planet Earth.

A common, unified approach is the way forward to solving this problem, and one way the day helps is by honoring the “recycling heroes” from the previous year. Plus, the idea of thinking about “resources” instead of “waste” is an excellent way to move in the right direction when it comes to the issue of recycling – offering items the true value and re-purpose that they deserve.

Now, every year Global Recycling Day is celebrated to not only remind individuals to reduce waste, but also to activate voices and speak up against governments and corporations who aren’t doing their part.

It’s time to join in on the celebration of Global Recycling Day!

Global Recycling Day Timeline

9th Century

First use of recycled paper

Records from Japan show that paper is recycled and used for paintings, poetry and more. [1]


The Rittenhouse Mill recycles fabrics

In Philadelphia, the first paper mill in the US making paper from recycled rags is opened.[2]


First metal recycling

The Revolutionary War in the US creates a need for metal so a NYC statue of King George III is melted and made into bullets. [3]


New logo for recycling is created

A contest is held to find a symbol for recycling, resulting in the triangle of three green arrows of the Mobius loop. [4]


First electronics recycling program

Companies and importers gather in Switzerland to find solutions around recycling of electronics.

How to Celebrate Global Recycling Day

It is more than past time for humans everywhere to band together and make an impact when they do their part by celebrating and observing Global Recycling Day – all over the world! Get involved by participating with some of these ideas:

Join a Global Recycling Day Event

Each year on Global Recycling Day, communities and cities are coming together to join forces and save the planet! Check with the local city or town government to see what types of events and recycling drives are being organized for this year’s celebration.

Check out the website for the day to get more information about various activities, events, and resources that are in the local area.

Finding no such events in the local community? Well, perhaps it’s time to organize one. Contact local representatives and officials to determine what the status of the day is in the community, then partner with other charitable organizations, schools, churches and more to make a big difference in the way folks make an effort to recycle – not just on Global Recycling Day, but each day on the calendar.

Don’t Forget to Reuse

Before throwing something in the trash or even in the recycling bin, first think of ways the item could be reused. Perhaps it would be a good idea to wash out a plastic carrier bag or a zipper closure bag and use it a few more times. Or maybe it would be possible to use those plastic containers from the grocery store in the kids’ lunch boxes. And also try using that piece of aluminum foil again. Anything that can be used just two times essentially cuts the waste of that product in half!

On Global Recycling Day – and every day – get creative with ways to reduce consumption and waste by reusing. And then, of course, once the item has gone through a full life, it’s time to recycle.

Share Facts About Recycling

Because it doesn’t have a long history, Global Recycling Day could use some help in raising awareness. Especially since, in less than 15 years, worldwide waste is expected to double.

Consider mentioning Global Recycling Day to friends or coworkers or share on social media. Start the conversation by learning about and sharing some of these facts: 

  • As a $200 billion industry, recycling supports 500,000 jobs in the US alone. 

  • Recycling preserves fresh water up to 95% when compared to the process of making new products. 

  • Unlike other materials, glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled over and over again without losing quality or the purity of the product.

  • 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour in the US and the world produces 400 million tons of plastic waste every year. 

Set Up a Recycling Program at Work or at School

Some people in certain environments may have noticed that their school, workplace or government building doesn’t recycle, but they may never have bothered to ask why. Well, Global Recycling Day is the perfect time to pose some questions! Why aren’t there easily accessible recycling bins in the school cafeteria or near the vending machines at work? Why doesn’t the copy room have a bin dedicated to paper recycling – or even one in each classroom?

This is the time to get motivated! Stand up for the environment and ask questions that will help to shed light on the places where there are no opportunities for recycling. And then seek to tear down the barriers so it’s possible to make a difference not only in the local community, but for the entire planet. Whether this means contacting a company to arrange for bins and pickup or creating a community page online that brings support and light to the issues, it’s time to get started!

Global Recycling Day FAQs

When did recycling become a thing?

In the 1960s and 1970s, recycling programs began, linked to people’s concern for the environment. [1]

Do recycling centers actually recycle?

Some items, like paper, have a high rate of recycling, but many plastics cannot be recycled and they end up being shipped away, put into landfills or burned. [2]

Can recycled paper be recycled?

Yes. As the fibers get shorter, it is harder to recycle so it can only go through the process 5-7 times. [3]

Do recycling plants make money?

Most recycling plants are businesses that make money by selling recycled materials, which is why some items do not get recycled – because it is not profitable. [4]

Does recycled plastic have to be clean?

It depends on the location, but many recyclable items only need to be rinsed and not actually washed.[5]

Also on ...

View all holidays

National Sloppy Joe Day

This classic sandwich will have you licking your fingers! The tangy sauce mixed with savory meat on a soft bun is a crowd-pleaser.

View all holidays

We think you may also like...

World Cogeneration Day

Efficiently generating power and heat concurrently, cogeneration offers a sustainable solution for energy demands and conservation.

One Health Day

Addressing global health issues requires collaboration, innovative solutions, and sustainable practices to improve well-being worldwide.