It’s that special time of year again. To me, America Recycles Day represents our annual celebration of progress collectively achieved by the recycling community, and also an important call-to-action to both the recycling community and the general public reminding us that a lot of work remains before we can pop the champagne and declare victory on the recycling front.
The SPC has worked with our members and our partners in the recycling community to generate a wealth of knowledge and action to enhance recycling. This past year we spearheaded an unprecedented collaboration of industry and NGO stakeholders to kick-off a huge study on consumer access to recycling programs. We continue to keep our ears on the ground and ask the right questions to understand the nuances of packaging design choices and their impacts on the recycling process. We’ve helped a number of companies understand the recyclability of their packaging and the opportunities for improvement. And our How2Recycle Label Program has created a link between that industry knowledge and consumer actions by appearing on hundreds of packages in stores across America. We can feel good about the SPC’s collective action to advance recycling, and it’s good to have a day where we recognize that.
Still, America Recycles Day makes me pause and wonder why we don’t have celebratory holidays for all the other sustainable packaging initiatives. Where is the “America Responsible Fiber Sourcing Day”? Or “America Packaging With Less Cumulative Energy Consumption Day”? Or the sure-to-be-popular “Phthalate Elimination Day”? Just because we don’t celebrate the other aspects of sustainable packaging doesn’t make them any less important. While we may work on recycling every day, there are a host of issues that deserve our attention and a host of other victories that deserve celebration. So please accept the SPC’s wishes for a happy America Recycles Day, and don’t forget that the party for America Makes Packaging More Sustainable Day never ends.