GreenYes Digest V97 #257

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:06:49 -0500

GreenYes Digest Mon, 27 Oct 97 Volume 97 : Issue 257

Today's Topics:
From the horse's mouth: America Recycles Day

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Date: Sun, 26 Oct 1997 09:27:14 +0400 From: Kevin Tuerff <> Subject: From the horse's mouth: America Recycles Day

Whew...My ears are burning with the misinformation flying across the=20 Internet about America Recycles Day. I=B9m proud to be serving as=20 national director/instigator of this event, and provide the following=20 clarifications:

In case you hadn=B9t heard, the first America Recycles Day is Saturday,=20 November 15, with an estimated 3,000 events being planned in 41 states=20 and one U.S. territory. That=B9s tremendous support for our first year=20 event (far exceeding our own expectations). Our key message: =B3Keep=20 Recycling Working: Buy Recycled.=B2 To stimulate recycling markets,=20 we=B9re challenging business, government and consumers to boost their=20 purchases of recycled-content products.

To demonstrate the broad availability of recycled-content products,=20 we=B9re offering an incentive for consumer participation called the=20 =B3American Green Dream House=B2 contest. The house, built primarily=20 with recycled-content products, is the grand prize in our national=20 random drawing contest. You can enter the contest online by making=20 your pledge at ( Our goal is to obtain=20 2.5 million recycling and buy recycled pledges for the drawing.

With America Recycles Day, we set out to give a shot in the arm to=20 recycling programs across the country and to dispel myths about=20 recycling and buying recycled products perpetuated by national and=20 local media. We organized a national partnership, recruited state=20 organizers, developed tools for local participation and media=20 campaigns. =20

While it may be easy to pass judgment on America Recycles Day, calling=20 it =B3greenwashing,=B2 it=B9s not so easy to pay the bills to implement a=20 national educational campaign. Who will pay the printing and shipping=20 bill for our special event planning guides? Who will pay the bill to=20 host a training of state organizers? Who will fund the $50,000 set=20 aside to purchase land for the winner of the =B3American Green Dream=20 House?=B2 It takes time, materials and travel to get such an event off=20 the ground, and contributions of cash and in-kind donations to=20 orchestrate a national education campaign.

Our approach was to find sponsors from the public and private sectors=20 to spread the burden of financing such a large undertaking. We are=20 very proud of the sponsors we recruited and stand behind them, to pat=20 them on the back for putting their trust in a fledgling idea. Just=20 look at the diversity of those we=B9ve brought together. It=B9s not often= =20 to find a public-private partnership like ours that can agree on much=20 of anything. =20

I started America Recycles Day with the organizational backing of the=20 Recycling Coalition of Texas. I left the comforts of my job with the=20 state of Texas, opened an office with co-worker Valerie Davis in=20 February and then fronted this event more than $15,000 on my own=20 credit card to get the program up and running. Even now, I=B9m proud to=20 say that the majority of work undertaken to get us where we are today=20 happened in a small four-person office in Austin, Texas. =20

Allow me to address some specific issues/questions:

Issue: National Steering Committee members. We have more than 130 businesses, government agencies, associations,=20 environmental and civic groups that have signed on. They were=20 recruited through our executive committee members. The primary=20 requirement of these groups is to help us publicize America Recycles=20 Day to the nation. They were not involved in the day-to-day decisions=20 that were taken on by our national executive committee. =20

Our executive committee, which includes U.S. EPA, Steel Recycling=20 Institute, National Recycling Coalition, Environmental Defense Fund,=20 Union Camp Corp., U.S. Postal Service, SWANA, U.S. Conference of=20 Mayors and the Environmental Council of the States, is responsible for=20 developing our key messages, recruiting steering committee members,=20 media relations/advertising and development of the Green Dream House.

Regarding the Sierra Club=B9s lack of participation, we never received=20 any official response to our invitation to join our steering=20 committee. Other major environmental groups did, like EDF, National=20 Wildlife Federation and American Oceans Campaign.

Issue: Why Nov. 15?--it=B9s too cold up North There are three reasons why America Recycles Day is held November 15: 1) It=B9s a Fall event, opposite Earth Day on the calendar, allowing=20 more organizations a chance to participate, 2) Schools need time to get organizations and plan events, 3) Nov. 15 falls one week after the Nov. 8 general election, thereby=20 taking our cause out of competition with political races for Governor,=20 Congress or President.

That timing with the media really made a difference in Texas: last=20 year there were more than 75 TV and radio news stories and 150=20 newspaper articles--all spreading our recycling message in a positive=20 light.

Cold weather hasn=B9t stopped the states of Minnesota, Illinois and=20 Massachusetts from organizing tremendous initiatives. In fact these=20 three northern states, along with South Carolina and Florida were=20 named =B3top 5 states=B2 by our executive committee for their aggressive=20 partnership and marketing efforts.

Expect America Recycles Day on November 15 again in 1998.

Issue: Zero Waste Zero Waste is an important issue but one which goes beyond our=20 specific focus for this first America Recycles Day. Each year, our=20 executive committee will evaluate the key message for the event. In=20 that forum, it will be appropriate to discuss this issue.

Issue: Grassroots Events Our website, has only recently begun=20 posting local events taking place across the country. Expect to see=20 hundreds more events posted in the next two weeks. Frankly, some=20 states are too busy to stop and send the information to us. =20 Here=B9s a just a few examples of planned events: =20

California--the city of Los Angeles will hold computer recycling=20 event, with working used computers being donated to the L.A. ISD.

Missouri--Nov. 15 is also the first day of hunting season and local=20 organizers plan to set up recycling centers and recruit recycling=20 pledges.

Minnesota--the first 100 shoppers take the ARD pledge will receive a=20 gift bag with recycled products at the Mall of America (Nov. 13-15).

Texas--19 Texas cities will collect used motor oil and oil filters and=20 distribute more than 12,000 used oil collection containers.

Virginia--More than 200,000 homes will receive America Recycles Day=20 pledge cards through the local Boy Scouts=B9 annual Scouting for Food=20 program.

Wisconsin--Their state campaign will be kicked-off Nov. 1 with a=20 pumpkin composting event.

America Recycles Day will involve farmers, school children, hunters,=20 government workers, corporate executives, elected officials, recycling=20 coordinators and average consumers.

One of the pledge entries recently submitted by Internet added, "Wow.=20 We didn't know buying recycled was so important."

I hope you=B9ll consider joining America Recycles Day to keep recycling=20 working.


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #257 ******************************