America Recycles Day, also known as National Recycling Day, is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling, waste reduction and more sustainable consumption. The history of America Recycles Day dates to the 1950s with the forming of many local and national organizations and coalitions to address proper waste disposal and to encourage more recycling.
In 1997, the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ARD, in which at least 40 states participated. In 1999, November 15 became the official observance day for recycling.
Keep America Beautiful (KAB) has become one of the primary organizers for America Recycles Day. KAB is one of the largest organizations focused on increasing recycling efforts and beautifying communities, with several chapters nationwide.
Top Ways to Celebrate America Recycles Day
Although recycling matters every day of the year, America Recycles Day facilitates a greater national awareness of our economic and environmental welfare. Here’s a list of ways to get involved and celebrate.
Get Local—Join an Event or Campaign
Various states proactively participate each year, so there are plenty of opportunities. Many local nonprofits, government entities, corporations, and private and public organizations will host events and campaigns on the day and week of November 15. Consider the following ways to join in:
- Take some time to learn about proper recycling. Visit Rumpke Waste & Recycling’s YouTube Channel or schedule a recycling center tour.
- Volunteer for a beautification or restoration project in your neighborhood.
- Organize your own litter clean-up through a local government’s website--some areas offer resources to arrange a clean-up event in a specified area.
- Help or join a local composting group.
- Search on social media for any regional events.
- Check out Rumpke’s pages on Facebook, X and Instagram.
Thank Your Drivers
The solid waste and recycling industry offers a broad range of careers, including drivers, who are vital to keeping our neighborhoods clean. Driving a truck not only requires extensive safety training to operate these heavy vehicles and identify road hazards, but it also requires physical fitness, strength and a willingness to work hard no matter the obstacles such as traffic and weather.
You can show appreciation to your driver for the essential role they play in preserving the community’s environment by:
- Following cart placement rules for easier collection.
- Avoiding disposing of hazardous materials—they could harm workers.
- Applying pedestrian safety rules when trucks are in the neighborhood–remember to slow down to get around a waste or recycling truck stopped in the roadway.
- Giving them a friendly wave or a ‘Thank you!’.
To learn more about our drivers, check out the official Rumpke YouTube channel on the realities of being a Rumpke truck driver.
Complete Your Own Recycling Audit
A recycling audit is the visual inspection and documentation of your waste for a set time—anywhere from a week to a month. Rumpke works with businesses to perform recycling and waste audits; try it at your home as a fun science experiment.
Before throwing your trash bag away, note the objects inside it. You’ll recognize patterns in which potentially recyclable items are going to the landfill. Identify how much you waste and make some changes. Below are some suggested solutions:
- Find more eco-friendly packaging in the store.
- Have reusable bags for shopping—always keep some in the car for convenience.
- Buy items in bulk—less packaging.
- Utilize the freezer to conserve leftovers for longer.
- Line airtight containers with paper towels or tea towels to prevent moisture buildup. - -
- Place recycling collection cans in high-traffic areas of your home, ideally next to each trash can.
- Get the entire family involved–help young children know what belongs in the recycling and what goes in the trash.
Take a Tour of the Landfill or Recycling Facility
Do you ever wonder what happens after your trash and recycling leaves your carts and bins? Take a tour of a recycling facility or landfill and see the process for yourself.
If you're in the Midwest, come visit one of our landfills or recycling centers, Rumpke offers them free at certain locations. (Tour form.) Please note that group size or age restrictions may apply.
After the trucks collect recyclables from your curbside, they arrive at a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for sorting and processing. Advanced machinery and technology in MRFs sort and separate materials by type quickly and efficiently.
Witness the journey of recyclables going from bin to bales--which are then shipped to companies and turned into new products.
Modern landfills are highly engineered sites that must adhere to specified guidelines, examinations and regulations of state, federal and local government agencies to ensure environmental protection. There are also strict limitations on where we can develop landfills, so we must preserve the ones we have.
If you visit a landfill, you will see that most of the property it sits on is home to a variety of wetlands, grasslands, native plant species and wildlife. Site personnel routinely inspect these natural features and enforce various sanitary practices such as odor and litter management to protect public health. Learn more on our previous blog post, “Debunking Landfill Myths”, and read our other landfill-related blog posts on our website.
Don’t have a local landfill or recycling center to visit, or simply don’t have the time? There are plenty of awesome videos of the process online. Check out the official Rumpke YouTube channel to see the behind-the-scenes of how we keep neighborhoods clean and green!
America Recycles Day FAQ
When is America Recycles Day?
Every year on November 15.
How do I celebrate America Recycles Day?
- Volunteer with your local eco-friendly nonprofit chapter.
- Attend a sustainability event or neighborhood clean-up organized by local organizations or clubs.
- Search for pop-up markets where people explore and purchase recycled goods.
- Grab some popcorn and watch a documentary or informative video to learn more about recycling.
How do I know which items are recyclable?
Each recycling facility will have its own recycling list of what it can and can't accept. This is why it's important to check with your local recycling facility; however, while full lists of acceptable items may differ by location, our list of acceptable materials is typically accepted in most curbside recycling programs.
If you have further questions about recycling items not typically accepted in curbside recycling programs, visit your local solid waste authority’s website for additional resources and drop-off locations.