2021 America Recycles Day Was a Great Success!
November 15th is observed as America Recycles Day to promote recycling and sustainability. America Recycles Day (ARD) is a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful. First established by the National Recycling Coalition in 1997, ARD represents the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products (KAB,2021). Like every year, this year as well, Global Paint for Charity participated in this community recycling event with Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, Gwinnett County Solid Waste Division & Partners on Saturday, November 6, 2021. This event allows the residents to drop off items that are typically more difficult to recycle, such as electronics, tires, sneakers, latex and oil-based paint, paper shredding, and clothing items.
Ever since the pandemic broke out, we all might have thought of remodeling our homes at some point in time. A fresh coat of paint often changes the surroundings and gives our lives a different perspective. Painting indeed brings some positive energy and improves the environment of our homes, but what do we do with the leftover paint? Some paints are so hazardous that even one gallon of paint can pollute up to 250,000 gallons of drinking water if disposed of improperly (Hazaway.com). For Global Paint, America recycles Day presents a perfect opportunity to protect the environment and at the same time improve living conditions for thousands of people throughout the world.
Usually, an event like ARD attracts almost 100 volunteers. Still, because this year’s event was hosted during the pandemic’s peak, we needed to be cautious and limit the opportunities. We could not use volunteers outside of our staff, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful team, and immediate family members to help, making hosting an event of this size a challenge. Still, with limited resources, this year’s event surpassed many previous records. America Recycles Day 2021 was highly successful. It was great seeing the residents lined up to dispose of the waste items in a sustainable way rather than sending them to the landfill to remain for hundreds of decades. The total amounts collected were 6703 gallons of paint, 3,890 pounds of clothing and textiles, 14 tons of shredded paper, 18 tons of electronics, and 14 tires. Overall, we had 1,446 vehicles that dropped off 43,055 lbs (3973 gallons) of latex paint! An event turnout of this magnitude only proves that we are becoming more conscious about our environment and cultivating sustainable habits. According to the EPA, waste disposal to landfills has decreased from 94% of the amount generated in 1960 to 52 percent of the amount generated in 2021. This indeed is a fact that makes us hopeful about the well-being of future generations.
When asked about the impact such events create, Marlatt Schelly, the Executive Director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, recalled; “What originally started off as a small-scaled event has grown exponelly over the years and has allowed the organizers to add more items to collect as well as additional opportunities to engage the residents. Offering these types of collection events enables them to dispose of hard to recycle items the proper way and giving them a new life as they are repurposed into new products and used for the greater good.”
Schelly further added, “Residents were extremely thankful for hosting these types of events and often asked when the next one was going to be. In just three short hours, we served 2,892 residents – that is an average of 964 residents per hour! By doing so, participants helped Mother Nature save precious landfill space. They, too, are our community heroes!”
Recycling does not just benefit the environment. It also creates jobs. According to EPA, every 10,000 tons of materials recycled produces $760,000 in wages in return. Recycling is profitable for our environment and the community, so, as responsible citizens, we should not wait for any particular day like ARD. Instead, we should try to make a conscious effort every day to reduce the burden from the environment and help the communities to thrive.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Your leftover paint changes the quality of life for many underserved and less fortunate communities. Although for the people who live on less than $1 per day, having a painted wall is a luxury, Global Paint tries to reach these people, and with your help and support, bring them out of the darkness.
When requested to share the experience of working with Global Paint for Charity as a sustainability partner, Schelly added,” Global Paint for Charity has been a long-standing community partner in helping Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful further our mission of Connecting People & Resources for a Sustainable Gwinnett. As Executive Director, I could not be more thankful to have GPC not only as a sustainability partner but a friend who shares the same philosophy in wanting to create a world with less waste and leaving it brighter and more colorful for future generations.”
Global Paint for Charity strongly believes that keeping the environment safe is a collective responsibility, and every citizen has a crucial role to play in this.
If you feel the urge to contribute to the healing process of mother earth, lend a helping hand to us. Visit our website, www.globalpaints.org, to know how you can help. Charity begins at home; let’s all be accountable for the damages caused by us to our environment and try to minimize it by conserving the resources, reducing the ecological footprints, and supporting every initiative that aims to bring positive changes to our community.