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If you have ever looked at the landfills, you’ll see countless amounts of waste that pollute the earth and the surrounding neighborhoods. If that makes you want to cry, then you are certainly not alone! There is one option of many that can give you the opportunity to initiate change in your life and the lives of others. National Recycling Day is just the day to take a pledge to recycle those used products and waste that would otherwise be piling up. If you care about the earth and hope to eventually stop the destruction of it, then now is the time to learn about National Recycling Day.

History of National Recycling Day

National Recycling Day was originally started back in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition. This day is declared each year in the United States by Presidential Proclamation, which encourages Americans to recycle and is nationally-recognized. In 2009, National Recycling Day was hosted by the Keep America Beautiful initiative.

Weeks beforehand and up until this date, many communities around the country promote this holiday by advocating environmental citizenship and taking action to convince people to make recycling a part of their daily lives. The day is also used to educate people about the importance of recycling for our economies and environmental health, hoping that eventually, people will become “every day” recyclers.

Keep America Beautiful offers to help host events for local communities and allows people to take pledges to try recycling and stay recycling. They also offer a Recycling@Work program which allows individuals to recycle at their workplace.

This day also helps create more jobs as, according to the EPA, the recycling rate has increased to 34 percent, accounting for at least 750,000 jobs and producing more than $37 billion in wages. The EPA and Keep America Clean both advocate for this national holiday by teaching people how to properly manage their waste and make more use out of the bottles, cans, and non-disposables for a more eco-friendly household.

Also called America Recycles Day, this day seeks to raise awareness about and recognize the value of the way that recycling has been important to the country. However, the great news is that recycling has been increasing over the years. While in 1960 the rate of recycling was less than 7 percent, today it is more than 32 percent, and the idea is that it will continue to grow and improve.

To continue contributing to progress in recycling, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages every person in America to recycle right – not only on National Recycling Day, but on every day of the year!

National Recycling Day Timeline


Recycling of rags and linens begins

In the New World, a mill in Philadelphia begins recycling fabrics to create paper that was made into books and newspapers.[1]


WWII inspires recycling

American begins a “Salvage for Victory” campaign where materials could be recycled and used by the military.[2]


Curbside recycling begins in the US

Recycling options for household consumers get more convenient as curbside pickup begins in various communities.


First state ban on landfilling recyclable materials

Wisconsin passes a state law requiring certain materials to either be reused, recycled or composted. [3]


San Francisco makes huge strides in recycling

Following a push for the state of California, San Francisco goes above the state goal and reaches 80% waste diversion.[4]

How to Celebrate National Recycling Day

National Recycling Day offers tons of opportunities for people to get involved and connected with the day. Whether it involves each person doing their part personally or raising awareness within a broader community, this is the day to do it! Consider implementing some of these ideas for celebrating and enjoying National Recycling Day:

Get Into a Recycling Habit

Participating in National Recycling Day is easy because it starts off with every day finding items you don’t use that can be recycled and then recycling them. However, this takes a daily effort and dedication to this act.

Those who don’t already have recyclable items picked up at their homes might want to use National Recycling Day as a motivator to arrange for this service to make recycling more convenient. And when it’s more convenient, people are more likely to do it, which is better for them and also better for the planet!

Sort That Recycling

People who are recycling need to remember that it’s necessary to do a bit of prep work before turning everything into the recycling hub. Each community has a slightly different way that they want their recycling to be organized. Typically, because it is one of the easiest things to recycle, cardboard and paper are often kept separate.

Plastic is also often separated. In some communities, glass and metal are kept together, while in other places they might have their own unique places. It may also be necessary to rinse the plastic, glass and metal items and, in some cases, paper wrappers might need to be torn off. The most important thing is to follow the guidelines as set forth by the local community so that everything that arrives at the recycling center is as it should be!

Host a National Recycling Day Event

If you want, you can host an event through the Keep America Beautiful website and start educating people about recycling. Whether it’s a neighborhood drive to encourage people to turn their broken electrical and electronic items into the recycling center or negotiating to get the community recycling pickups to happen more often, National Recycling Day allows folks to get together as a community and get organized.

Of course, what people can accomplish together for protecting the environment is much grander than what can be done alone, so getting other people involved is the name of the game.

Share About National Recycling Day with Friends

You can also create social media posts using the hashtag #NationalRecyclingDay to create awareness for the extremely negative effects of not recycling and the harm it is doing to yourself, your communities, and overall the planet. So, try making that commitment and see where it takes you!

National Recycling Day FAQs

Is styrofoam recyclable?

Foam polystyrene or “styrofoam” is not recyclable and should not be placed in recycling bins. [1]

Is bubble wrap recyclable?

Most bubble wrap is technically recyclable but most companies do not have the special machinery for it, so it should be placed in the normal trash. [2]

Do recyclable items need to be clean?

It’s not necessary to run them through the dishwasher, but it is a good idea to rinse out bottles, cans and jars. [3]

Do recycled materials cost more?

The cost of the recycling process can sometimes outweigh the value of the recyclable materials.[4]

When did recycling start in the US?

Recycling of linen and rags started in the US in 1690, but it wasn’t until WWII that people started recycling household items.[5]

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