Planet Ark celebrates National Recycling Week during the second week of November every year, which began in 1996. This year, it takes place from November 6 to 12. Planet Ark gives councils, organizations, schools, and individuals a crucial opportunity to increase their recycling knowledge, develop better recycling habits, and create trust in recycling. We encourage you to cherish your resources by lowering the need for freshly created materials, reusing high-quality second-hand products, and recycling!
History of National Recycling Week
Many environmentally aware Americans believe that recycling is a product of the 1970s environmental movement, the period that birthed the first Earth Day and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Ban the Can,” the earliest post-World War II mass recycling campaign in the U. S., was created and implemented by Ruth ‘Pat’ Webb in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1970. Webb enlisted the help of military and citizen volunteers to collect more than 9 tons of metal cans from Oahu’s streets and highways. Afterward, the metal cans were recycled as steel reinforcing bars, which were then reused in local construction projects.
But, while that period was a watershed moment in the history of the concept, recycling in America dates back far further. Indeed, according to some experts, it operated better before the 1970s than it does now.
During the Great Depression, there was still a need to reuse. Manufacturers promoted their products based on their dual-purpose capabilities. Families made garments out of flour sacks and used biscuit canisters as lunch boxes.
During WWII, Americans were notably urged to gather scrap metal, paper, and even culinary waste—though many experts today believe that these things were mostly stacked up unused and that these initiatives were propaganda tactics to get students interested in the war and obtain support.
It wasn’t that recycling was invented in the 1960s and 1970s; rather, the motivations behind it evolved. Americans began recycling to deal with the vast volumes of rubbish produced during the second part of the 1900s, rather than to get the most out of the resources.
National Recycling Week timeline
The Stanolind Recycling Plant, one of the first in the industry, begins operations.
"Ban the Can" is launched and becomes the first post-WWII mass recycling initiative in the U.S.
The idea of having a recycling trailer towed behind waste collection vehicles is born in Woodbury, New Jersey.
The National Recycling Coalition establishes America Recycles Day.
National Recycling Week FAQs
When did recycling become popular in the United States?
Although worry about the post-war disposable culture dates back practically to the beginning, the environmental movement of the 1970s can be attributed to directly altering American recycling initiatives.
How long does it take for glass bottles to decompose?
A typical glass bottle would take at least 4,000 years to degrade, and even longer if buried. For each ton of glass produced, around 385 lbs of trash is generated during the mining and transportation of raw materials.
What are the benefits of recycling?
Recycling has several benefits to man and his environment. It reduces the amount of waste that is dumped in landfills and burned in incinerators, natural resources such as timber, minerals, and water are conserved, utilizing a local source of materials improves economic security, it reduces the need to obtain additional raw materials, which reduces pollution, and conserves energy.
How to Observe National Recycling Week
Indiscriminate disposal of items is wreaking havoc on the environment. Look around the house and identify items that can be recycled instead of just throwing them all away.
Teach people the importance of recycling
The joy of recycling is contagious. Tell someone about its benefits, to celebrate Recycling Day. Teach kids what to recycle and urge them to continue the habit in school.
Say no to plastic bags
Avoid taking plastic bags when you go shopping by going with your bag. Small acts of conscious efforts like this can go a long way.
5 Facts About Recycling That Will Blow Your Mind
Amazing battery power
Recycling a single aluminum can could save enough energy to power a T.V. for up to three hours or an iPod for up to twenty hours.
Paper recycling requires 70% less energy than it does to manufacture it from scratch.
Endless spare parts
Even automobiles can be recycled, with over 80% of the vehicle's components being recycled.
Packaging accounts for more than 15% of the money we spend on items, with the majority of it ending up in the trash.
Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to run a laptop for 30 minutes.
Why National Recycling Week is Important
Sparking inspiration and awareness
This annual campaign continues to educate and stimulate behavior change by promoting kerbside, industrial, and community recycling initiatives
Engaging people on the importance of closing the recycling loop by buying products made with recycled content is also key to creating a sustainable future.
Less need for extraction
By promoting roadside, industrial, and community recycling efforts, this yearly campaign continues to inform and inspire behavior change.
National Recycling Week dates