America Recycles Day is just around the corner!
How do you intend to celebrate? Don’t worry if you don’t have big plans yet, or if you haven’t even heard of America Recycles Day (ARD). This lesser-known holiday is celebrated every Nov. 15, and is the eco-friendly fall companion to spring’s Earth Day. Since the first ARD was celebrated in 1997, it has been a nationally-recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. This year, we at Canyonlands Community Recycling (CCR) are working to popularize ARD with the good people of Moab and we encourage you to honor the day by finding one new way to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reduce! It’s probably not difficult to find a way to reduce waste in your daily life. We are mindlessly offered disposable items all day long, and if we aren’t paying attention, we end up with a lot of trash. A great way to reduce is to commit to say “no.” Say “no” when you are offered a plastic bag to carry one item from the shop to the car. Say “no” to junk mail by going to www.directmail.com and signing up to be removed from marketing lists. Say “no” to paper towels in public restrooms by drying your hands on your pants. Say “no” to as many disposable things as you can and you’ll notice just how many things you send to the landfill without noticing.
Reuse! Find reusable options for things that might otherwise be disposable. Get a reusable coffee mug for your morning drink and a reusable water bottle to help you stay hydrated. Use washable cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Shop at WabiSabi to reuse clothing, housewares and building materials while also supporting local nonprofits. If you start to look around in Moab, you’ll see examples of creative reuse all around you.
Recycle! If you’re already an avid recycler, commit to finding one hard-to-recycle item that you can responsibly find a place for. Recycle compact fluorescent bulbs and spent ink cartridges at WabiSabi East. Recycle plastic grocery bags by returning them to the bin in front of City Market. A great opportunity to recycle old electronics and dead batteries is coming right up on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Community Recycle Center. If you’re not already recycling, then at least stop trashing aluminum cans. Aluminum cans can be recycled an infinite number of times and net the most money for the Solid Waste District, which helps cover the cost of recycling other things. It’s impressive what we can do when we all work toward recycling together. Just from January to August of this year, Moab has recycled more than 437 tons or 875,000 pounds of cardboard, aluminum, glass, steel cans, newsprint, office paper and #1-#7 plastics!
Once you’ve committed to a new way to reduce, reuse and recycle, reward yourself with a community party and exhibition of some of the many ways that Moabites get creative with recycled art! On Saturday, Nov. 15, CCR invites you to the first-ever Upcycled Art Party in honor of America Recycles Day. It will be a celebration of all things artistically recycled, salvaged and repurposed featuring exhibits by local artists and craftspeople, recycled art from Grand County students, and a Community Art Contest for all you amateur upcycled artists out there. There will be a huge range of upcycled art and craft pieces for sale and display, including sculpture, dioramas, wearable art, quilts, clothing, jewelry and functional pieces like bags and kitchenware. In addition, the event will feature a silent auction of local and recycle-themed items and sales of refreshments donated by local restaurants. For those over 21 with a valid ID, there will also be beer, wine and cocktails available for sale.
America Recycles Day is a great opportunity to recommit to sustainable practices and think of new ways to improve. At Canyonlands Community Recycling, we work year round to enhance sustainability by empowering the Moab community to reduce, reuse and recycle, and we encourage you to join in. Think of the community impact if everyone reading this committed to finding one more way to reduce, reuse and recycle every day.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Upcycled Art Party, helping with sponsorship, participating as a professional artist or craftsperson or entering a piece into the Community Art Contest please contact Abby Scott at CCR by emailing CCR@MoabRecycles.org or 435-210-4996. We’ll see you at the Upcycled Art Party on America Recycles Day!
Abby Scott is the program director at Canyonlands Community Recycling.