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7th Annual Kick-off for America Recycles Day

Release Date: 11/14/2003
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(11/14/03) - Kicking off nearly 800 events across the nation, EPA, the D.C. Government, numerous non-government organizations and corporate partners today celebrated the seventh annual America Recycles Day by encouraging Americans to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled products. Forty-two states will participate, plus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In Washington, D.C., the day started with a press conference on Freedom Plaza (on 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue), including speakers Marianne Lamont Horinko, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistant Administrator of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams. The press conference included a demonstration of how old electronics are recycled, and kick started two days of electronics recycling. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and tomorrow people can drop off computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, TVs, stereos, VCRs, camcorders, cellular phones, inkjet/toner cartridges, and rechargeable batteries at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Rock Creek Park, near the intersection of Colorado Avenue and 16th Street, N.W. For directions to amphitheater:

“America Recycles Day is a reminder that we all need to be good stewards of our resources at home, at work and in our communities,” said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. “Good stewards are committed to reducing waste not only on this day, but every day, in order to leave behind a cleaner environment for generations to come.”

One area of increasing importance to recycling is electronics: more than 3.2 million tons of electronic waste is laid to rest in landfills each year; mobile phones will be discarded at a rate of 130 million per year by 2005, resulting in 65,000 tons of waste yearly. Televisions and computers can contain an average of four pounds of lead (depending on their size, make, and vintage) as well as other potential toxics like chromium, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, nickel, zinc, and brominated flame retardants. These materials need to be handled carefully.

As electronic devices continue to be more popular, they provide an opportunity to significantly reduce and recycle our waste. But in 2001, only 11 percent of personal computers retired in the U.S. were recycled. To encourage that percentage to rise, America Recycles Day, a partnership of the federal government, the City of Washington, D.C., private companies and non-profit organizations, is educating people about the importance of recycling and collecting electronic materials to be recycled.

“The District of Columbia is proud to be part of the national kick-off for America Recycles Day,” said DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams. “We have pledged to be a greener, cleaner city, and recycling helps us reach that goal. I urge everyone in the community to participate in America Recycles Day activities in the area.”

Recycling makes a real contribution to such environmental goals as saving natural resources and reducing the need for more landfills. But there are additional, compelling incentives to recycle. For example, recycling creates jobs and helps the economy in a number of ways. A recent study commissioned by EPA indicates that the recycling and reuse industry consists of approximately 56,000 establishments that employ over 1.1 million people. These businesses generate an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, and gross over $236 billion in annual revenues.

In addition to sponsoring ARD, EPA has intensified its own efforts to increase waste reduction by recycling products and buying ones made from recycled materials:
      • EPA recently established a solid waste program throughout its many nationwide facilities to reduce the environmental impacts of its facilities. The Agency is striving to make this effort a model program for other federal agencies to follow.
      • EPA is running a major employee education campaign with the slogan, “Bin There, Done That?” The campaign–complete with deskside boxes, labels, videos, and posters– encourages expanded recycling of office paper, bottles and cans, and toner cartridges. The “Bin There, Done That?” campaign is offered to facility managers who want to revitalize their programs and encourage more employees to recycle as much as possible.
      • The Agency also had a traveling exhibit on recycled and other “green” office products, now on display at the EPA headquarters.

The ARD campaign is hosted by America Recycles Day, Inc. a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sponsored by Alcan Corporation, 100 percent Recycled Paperboard Alliance, Environmental Defense, Ford Motor Company, National Recycling Coalition, National Soft Drink Association, Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, Recycle America Alliance, Recycling Alliance of Texas, Solid Waste Association of North America, Staples, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and EPA. In addition to federal government commitments, nearly 200,000 Americans nation wide are expected to make personal commitments to reduce waste at this annual event.

To learn more about ARD events in your community, to locate the ARD coordinator in your state, and to obtain more information about the national ARD campaign, visit the ARD website at