Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Businesses Can Do on America Recycles Day

The business community has a crucial role to play in recycling. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as much as 45 percent of the 250 million tons of municipal waste generated in 2010 was from commercial and institutional locations such as business and government offices, retail establishments, schools and hospitals. Recognizing the power of individuals in the workplace to engage in recycling which results in saving energy, reducing emissions and landfills, conserving natural resources and generating jobs.

Keep America Beautiful has launched a Recycling Pledge Inviting Businesses and Governments to Commit to 10% Increase in Workplace Recycling. Keep America Beautiful is challenging corporate America and government to sign up for its Recycling at Work pledge. The pledge requires businesses, governments and institutional entities 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.”

The Recycling at Work pledge requires these entities to take the pledge 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 (NYS:AA) 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.”

Whether the consequence of the act of recycling is visible, such as the observable effect of less littering, almost all recyclers know that their actions are saving natural resources, reducing energy consumption, and sustaining our planet for future generations.

America’s leading companies are proud to make America Recycles Day possible. National sponsors include: American Chemistry Council, Anheuser-Busch,, Glad, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé Waters North America, Owens-Illinois, PepsiCo and Waste Management.

To take the business pledge for America Recycles Day click here.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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