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3p Weekend: How 7 Companies Are Celebrating America Recycles Day


With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

Tomorrow, Nov. 15, is America Recycles Day -- a national celebration promoting recycling organized by Keep America Beautiful. Eco-minded folks in communities across the country will mark the holiday by purging their homes of recyclable items and disposing of them responsibly. Top companies also plan to commemorate ARD by hosting recycling drives, spearheading education campaigns and offering friendly reminders of the importance of recycling.

1. Unifi

You may not know Unifi by name, but the Greensboro, North Carolina-based company is behind the Repreve recycled fiber brand, which appears in everything from clothes to car seats.

For America Recycles Day this year, Repreve is linking up with Marvel Universe LIVE! to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. The national initiative spearheaded by the two companies encourages children to take responsibility for recycling at home and in their everyday lives, teaching them that they can become 'superheroes for the environment.'

Repreve and Marvel kicked off the multi-city initiative in Charlotte, North Carolina this week, teaming up with Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools, the Boys and Girls Club of the greater Charlotte area and Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Division to host a city-wide recycling contest for youth.

2. Sprint

Sprint is commemorating America Recycles Day by reminding consumers to recycle their old electronics. The company launched its Sprint Buyback program 13 years ago, before any other national carrier. Last year alone, the company recycled more than 11 million wireless devices, over 211,000 on average per week.

Sprint will host a recycling event tomorrow at one of its downtown Chicago retail locations on North La Salle Street. Folks who recycle a phone will get some face-time with five-time NBA champion Bill Cartwright, and receive a free Chicago Transit Authority Fun Pass good for one day of unlimited rides. Its Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri will also serve as a drop-off location for residents looking to recycle electronics and securely shred paper.

3. Novelis

Just in time for America Recycles Day, aluminum rolling and recycling company Novelis announced a new commitment to convert all of its beverage can body sheet production to its Evercan sheet by the end of 2017. If you haven't heard, Evercan sheeting is the world’s first certified high-recycled content aluminum for beverage cans -- containing a minimum of 90 percent recycled material.

Novelis President and CEO Phil Martens announced the commitment on Wednesday at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chief Sustainability Officers Summit in New York and recognized that this may be a big shift for the industry:

“We understand that the shift to a certified, high-recycled content aluminum beverage can sheet represents a significant change for the industry with far-reaching effects,” Martens said. “Through an open-sourced platform, we are committed to working with beverage brands, can makers and other aluminum manufacturers to build the closed-loop, low-carbon economy of the future. Accomplishing this change is going to require all of these stakeholders to work together to make the use of recycled materials the standard for the beverage can industry and to increase recycling rates among consumers.”

4. Goodwill

Goodwill will do its part tomorrow is by encouraging recycling at colleges and universities. In addition to America Recycles Day, Goodwill and Keep America Beautiful also partner on a donated goods campaign on university campuses each spring. The initiative, called Give and Go, resulted in more than 232,000 pounds of recyclables being collected at U.S. colleges this year.

"What makes America Recycles Day special for Goodwill is that we are not only helping to protect the environment by encouraging recycling, but we are also supporting the Goodwill mission," Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, said in a statement. "Every item that Goodwill receives generates income to fund job training programs and services in communities nationwide."

5. Dell

Dell is a longstanding supporter of America Recycles Day, and this year is no different. Dell employees in Austin, Texas, are supporting ARD with a large volunteer recycling event. At the event, held in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, Dell team members will help take apart computers for responsible recycling.

The event supports Dell Reconnect, a Dell and Goodwill partnership that enables customers to recycle any brand of unwanted computer, in any condition, at more than 2,000 participating Goodwill locations in the U.S. The plastics Dell collects are recycled back into new Dell products.

6. Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, the parent company behind popular eateries like Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille, is one of those companies that makes recycling a priority all year round -- without creating a big fuss about it.

This year for America Recycles Day, the company announced that it has recycled 7.3 million pounds of used fry oil since it began its reclamation program in 2010. The company recycles 100 percent of the cooking oil used in its restaurants, and the oil finds new life as biodiesel, animal feed and soaps. The company's innovative food rescue program, Darden Harvest, has also donated more than 77 million pounds of surplus food – totaling more than 100 million meals – to families in need since its inception.

7. Waste Management

It's only natural that Waste Management plans to get in on the America Recycles Day action. WM will join forces with L.A. LIVE and Call2Recycle for the fourth annual America Recycles Day recycling event at L.A. LIVE, the sports and entertainment district that surrounds the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

Additionally, to commemorate ARD, Waste Management launched a new online portal around its Recycle Often. Recycle Right. campaign, which promotes the basics of recycling by simplifying guidelines and empowering everyone to become 'Recycling Ambassadors.'

Image credit: Unifi, Inc. 

How do you plan to celebrate America Recycles Day? Tell us about it in the comments!

Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a senior editor at TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands, Earth911 and the Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.

Mary Mazzoni headshotMary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni has reported on sustainability in business for over a decade and now serves as managing editor of TriplePundit. She is also the general manager of TriplePundit's Brand Studio, which has worked with dozens of brands and organizations on sustainability storytelling. Along with 3p, Mary's recent work can be found in publications like Conscious Company, Salon and Vice's Motherboard. She also works with nonprofits on media projects, including the women's entrepreneurship coaching organization Street Business School. She is an alumna of Temple University in Philadelphia and lives in the city with her partner and two spoiled dogs. 

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