Happy America Recycles Day! Celebrated annually on November 15, America Recycles Day is a program of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. Those of us who were alive in the 1970s will remember Keep America Beautiful, or KAB, as the folks who brought us one the most successful public service campaigns ever, in the form of a Native American man weeping while bearing witness to thoughtless pollution. (You can watch a clip of that famous public service announcement featuring Iron Eyes Cody, and read more about KAB’s history on the organization’s web site. Incidentally, it’s interesting to consider how that PSA might look today if it focused on e-waste instead of some of the more obvious forms of pollution like air pollution, litter, etc.)
Celebrated since 1997, America Recycle’s Day is about educating the public about how and what to recycle, while encouraging people to do so as part of their daily routine. When most people take part in America Recycles Day events, they focus on the typical items you might place in the nearest blue bin or on the curb for weekly collection–paper, plastics, aluminum cans, etc. However, if you’re reading this blog, you already know that it’s just as important to consider recycling or reusing electronics when they are no longer of use to you.
So take the opportunity today to educate yourself, friends, family and colleagues about how you can responsibly dispose of your electronic devices. Visit the KAB website, and use the recycling location tool available there through KAB’s partnership with Earth911 to find electronics recycling locations in your community. Just type “electronics” into the “What?” field (or a specific type of item, such as “television” or “batteries”) and then enter you zip code into the “Where?” field to call up a list of area businesses or organizations that accept such items for proper recycling.
Also, read the SEI fact sheet on Electronics Take-Back and Donation Programs to learn other options if there are not local resources available to you, or if you’re interested in selling devices for some extra cash or donating your electronics for a good cause. SEI also provides an extensive Summary of U.S. State Laws on Electronic Waste and Disposal Bans so you can learn what laws, if any, apply in your area. The Law & Policy section of the SEI web site will also help you learn about regulations on the local, federal and international levels, as well as providing more information on voluntary initiatives.
And take some time to think about what is involved in the responsible recycling of electronic devices. Read about the existing Certification programs on the SEI site.
Then take the America Recycles Day pledge today, and be sure to check the box on the pledge form that applies to electronics: “I pledge to recycle my used batteries, cell phones and other electronic waste through a take-back program or e-waste facility near me.”
And then live by that pledge–365 days a year.