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Businesses Challenged on America Recycles Day

Organizations are marking America Recycles Day on Thursday, November 15, 2012, by challenging business and industry to improve their recycling knowledge and performance.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is calling on businesses to become informed about their recycling choices and to demand responsible recycling practices. It emphasizes that now, more than ever, companies can contribute significantly to the global recycling effort for a more sustainable economic environment.
 
ISRI reminds businesses that working with certified recycling facilities is one of the best ways to confirm that their materials are recycled in the most responsible manner and to the highest industry standards. “We celebrate America Recycles Day by applauding those organizations that are committed to recycling with the highest, most responsible standards, thereby protecting their employees, local communities and global partners,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “The recycling industry continues to grow because of commitments from consumers and businesses alike to protect our planet.”
 
ISRI administers the RIOS certification program, a global recycling standard that combines quality, environmental, health and safety components in one integrated management system. R2/RIOS certification, designed specifically for electronics recyclers, requires recyclers to follow all environmental standards detailed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and data security procedures under various acts of Congress.

Recycling provides great financial and environmental returns to communities around the nation and the world. Materials such as plastic, steel, aluminum, copper, electronics and even precious metals can be recycled, allowing for new product creation in the marketplace. Recycling is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, contributing more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy each year and employing nearly 138,000 people.
 
America Recycles Day is an initiative of Keep America Beautiful [www.kab.org], which is taking the occasion to invite businesses and governments to commit to a 10% increase in workplace recycling and sign up for its Recycling at Work pledge. The pledge requires businesses, governments and institutional entities – such as school and hospitals – to commit to a 10 percent increase in the recycling of paper products, beverage containers, electronics and batteries in the workplace through a variety of actions by 2015. It also encourages the recycling of food waste and other biodegradables.

“The environmental impact from recycling remains critically important as a measure of sustainable economies and vibrant communities,” said Matt McKenna, KAB president and chief executive officer. “To increase our national municipal recycling rate from its current 34 percent level, the increase will come less from national initiatives and more from locally-driven efforts. Engaging individuals to take the action to recycle at home, at work and at play is the linchpin to increasing recycling rates.”

Companies can take the pledge on AmericaRecyclesDay.org, and report on actions taken to increase recycling and the results of those actions. KAB will compile the data and issue a comprehensive report in 2015, fulfilling its commitment made in partnership with Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City.

Recycling at Work’s 2015 goal will be achieved through a series of approaches that include:

  • Increasing employee awareness of the availability of recyclable services and benefits of recycling in offices and other facilities.
  • Enhancing infrastructure and communications to enable greater recycling and diversion of the materials in offices and other facilities.
  • Identifying cost-effective opportunities to incorporate consideration of end-of-life recyclability and increased recycled content into the products purchased.
  • Reporting on progress each year through the Recycling at Work online system.
  • Inviting other organizations to take the Recycling at Work pledge.

“Recycling is participatory environmentalism,” McKenna said. “Poll after poll shows that individuals identify the act of recycling as their most immediate, tangible, and visible contribution to a better environment.”

National sponsors of America Recycles Day include American Chemistry Council, Anheuser-Busch, Earth911.com, Glad, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé Waters North America, Owens-Illinois, PepsiCo and Waste Management.

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