On Nov. 14, 2014, we hosted America Recycles Day at Clinton Park School. We challenged the first grade class to a week-long competition to see who could collect the most recyclables. Throughout the week, teachers and students discussed the importance of recycling and the impact it has on a community. The winning class received a $100 donation from Keep Mississippi Beautiful. On the last day of the contest, city officials, Keep Mississippi Beautiful representatives, and Waste Management representatives gathered with 400 first graders to speak about and encourage them to continue their efforts at school, home, in the community, and to commit to recycling as a way of life. A check presentation was made at a recent school event celebration.
In honor of America Recycles Day, a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Arlington-based nonprofit Bikes for the World donated its 100,000th bike for reuse on Saturday, Nov. 15, at a ceremonial loading of the bike into a shipping container headed to a community in Costa Rica. Representatives from KAB, the U.S. EPA and Fundación Integral Campesina (FINCA Costa Rica), joined Bikes for the World staff and volunteers at the event in Arlington.
“America Recycles Day is about reducing, reusing and recycling,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, KAB. “This is one of the best examples of reuse, because this bike is getting a second life.”
“It really is a perfect example of taking what would be wasted and giving it value through reuse, while at the same time improving people’s lives,” said Charlotte Mooney, associate director resource conservation and sustainability division, U.S. EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, about the project.
The shipment of the donated bike will reach Bikes of the World partner FINCA Costa Rica on Dec. 10. The rural micro-business program will distribute the more than 500 bikes in this shipment to five community-based organizations that recondition and sell them locally,
“This project helps [recipients] have clean and cheap transportation and also allows them to raise money for their community funds that they use to give micro-loans to their members,” said Luis Jimenez, executive director, FINCA Costa Rica.
The partnership, which includes Bikes for the World’s other partnerships in Africa and Asia, improves rural communities not only by providing transportation and micro-loans, but also by creating jobs for those who refurbish the recycled bikes. Thus far, Bikes for the World has donated 20,000 bikes to FINCA Costa Rica alone.
“We’re putting these bikes where they have the most value. I think that’s a particular strength of this program,” said Keith Oberg, Bikes for the World executive director and board member. “We’ll certainly donate 100,000 more.”
(Pictured from left to right): Luis Jimenez, executive director, Fundación Integral Campesina (FINCA Costa Rica); Charlotte Mooney, associate director resource conservation and sustainability division, U.S. EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery; Brenda Pulley, senior vice president/recycling, Keep America Beautiful; Keith Oberg, executive director, Bikes for the World, at Bikes for the World headquarters in Arlington, Va., on America Recycles Day.
America Recycles Day is November 15, a time to celebrate recycling and set new standards for your recycling habits for the rest of the year. With the national recycling rate of 34.5%, there is still so much work to be done to recycle more, to recycle right and to convert friends and family into recyclers.
A great way to step up your recycling game is to think about the recyclables throughout your entire home. Too often, Americans keep their recycling confined to the kitchen, but did you know there is so much more to recycle than just in the kitchen? Think about your workspace, for example, and how you could be recycling all of that paper you use. For every ton of paper recovered for recycling, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space are saved! And how about your electronics? Electronics contain valuable precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, tin and zinc and can be recycled into jewelry, new electronics and more.
This year, America Recycles Day falls on a Saturday, so we challenge you to think outside of the kitchen and take some time to set up your entire house for recycling success:
• Explore other items in your home that can be recycled in the infographic below.
• Place recycling bins in different rooms of your home to make recycling easier.
• Talk with your family or roommates about your new plan.
• Solidify your commitment by pledging to keep it up all year long at http://www.americarecyclesday.org/.
The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash per day, just think of all the potential of that trash! Do your part in caring for our environment and recycle. Let’s keep our planet beautiful for generations to come.
America Recycles Day 2014 is made possible by national sponsorship support from these leading companies: Amcor, American Chemistry Council, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Pilot Corporation of America (Pilot Pen) and Waste Management.