Did you know November 15 was America Recycles Day, the only day dedicated to celebrating recycling and litter prevention in the United States? Hosted by our friends at Keep America Beautiful, it comes and goes every year, but it’s a great time to learn new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our everyday lives, and carry these learnings forward. The planet depends on it!

Now, you may have heard public recycling is on the decline, or that less of what we thought we could recycle is actually getting recycled. In the traditional, curbside blue bin sense, this has unfortunately been the case for years, getting worse with the challenges of the pandemic. 

But TerraCycle® has proven that everything can be recycled, and conscious brands like Swiffer® are working with us to ensure more material is saved from landfills, oceans, and the environment by creating national programs you can use to easily, effectively recycle for FREE.

Here’s a quick “Recycling 101”

Recycling is when products and packaging thrown “away” are collected and processed to make new products. When used instead of new, “virgin” material, this saves additional resources from being taken from the Earth, which means fewer trees felled, metals mined, or oil extracted.

Recycling breaks down your discards to transform them into something entirely new while keeping the planet clean, which is kind of magical! BUT, putting something in the blue bin does not magically get it recycled.

It all boils down to economics: Can a material be recycled at a profit? Most single-use items by this measure are not recyclable through your local program, and what is accepted for recycling changes town to town, which can get confusing. Double, triple check what your program accepts so you don’t wish-cycle, the act of placing items in the bin hoping they’ll be recycled

So what do we do?

Again, many common single-use plastics such as food and drink packages, beauty empties, and disposable cleaning supplies don’t belong in the blue bin, but can be recycled through TerraCycle.

For example, the Swiffer brand’s iconic line of refill cleaning systems make cleaning easy and fun, even reaching verb-status (“Swiffering”), and through the Swiffer® Recycling Program, you can recycle all of the following Swiffer refills for free, earning points for charity while you do it:

  • Sweeper™ Dry Refills
  • Sweeper™ Wet Refills
  • Sweeper™ XL Refills
  • WetJet™ Refills
  • Duster™ Refills

No need to toss in the trash – collect your Swiffer refills and ship to us in any empty box with the prepaid downloadable label once full. Just make sure wet cloths and pads are completely dry before shipping, as our partners at UPS can’t take dripping packages. When we receive them, we clean, shred, and turn them into plastic pellets used for new items. Like magic.

You have the power to keep the environment clean.

Companies like Swiffer make a powerful move to make their products nationally recyclable, but a huge part of why they are working on this is because it’s important to YOU. Around the world, people like you are willing to pay more or switch brands for ones that are recyclable, and agree manufacturers should help with recycling what they produce instead of leaving it to the public.

In a world of mounting environmental challenges and huge climate events, it might seem like our individual actions don’t make a difference. But the most powerful thing you can do to vote for a brighter, cleaner future is to choose products and brands doing this work to take responsibility for recycling and offer you new ways to move the needle.

This America Recycles Day, be excited! Companies, brands, and governments are working together to take meaningful action, and the more you make your voice heard on the need for better and more recycling solutions, the more they’ll have to answer, as their survival depends on it. On you.

How’s that for giving cleaning a whole new meaning?

How are you celebrating America Recycles Day today, and beyond? Tell us in the comments!

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