Of course, some camps argue the value of a one-day environmental "day." With something like recycling, it begs the question: "Why just recycle on ONE day? What about the other 364?" That is a great question!
I personally subscribe to both camps. No, one day isn't enough. We should be recycling daily. And I do--both at home and at school. I talk about it in my classroom, especially because it is a Maryland "Green" School.
Yet, as a firm believer that change can begin with one person, I believe change too can begin on one day. Most current data takes us to 2009, where we (in the US) can celebrate a 34% recycling rate. (For more eyeopening statistics on all sorts of recycling data, go to the Keep America Beautiful Recycling Stats & Facts page.) For as many years as we have all been recycling & been urged to recycle, and for the amount of items out there that we CAN recycle, I'm disappointed in this figure. I personally think we can do more, and do better. It is for that reason that Environmental "Days" such as our November 15th America Recycles Day are important. It brings about a focused one-day effort of awareness.
Of course, how much of that "news" do any of us actually see on that one day? That also is the disappointing part. I only saw it (and knew about it) because I'm always on the hunt for eco-news. Similarly, it's also because I teach at a Maryland Green School.
So, the moral of the story is: yes, it can only take one person to make a change. Even better--a lot of those solo individuals. Each one of them highlighting it, shouting about it, and helping others become aware so that recycling eventually can become that "every day activity." That way it can become those "other 364 days" activities as well. With that, then perhaps our 34% can move it's way up to a fraction better than just 1/3.
Lucky for us too, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) [in coordination with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and the Alcoa & Alcoa Fountation] are also working on moving that percentage--especially since the US is far below many other countries in this department.
So, even if you missed America Recycles Day this year, no one said it had to be on November 15th in your house. Make it happen. You can get a lot of resources, facts, and helpful hints here:
Guides, Templates and Downloads from America Recycles Day
Recycling Tips from America Recycles Day
Information & Ideas from Keep America Beautiful
Information about the "Recycle Bowl"
(A "SuperBowl of Recycling" event where 1500 schools participated for 4 weeks in October to November of 2012 nationwide. Eagle Cove School contributed just over 400 lbs during our time RecycleBowl-ing. Not to shabby for a school with a population of 83 students!)
American Flag pic from http://cityofls.net/Environment/America-Recycles-Day.aspx, Recycle Bowl symbol pic http://recycle-bowl.org/, Keep America Beautiful logo from http://www.kab.org/, iCare image from http://triblocal.com/antioch-fox-lake/community/stories/2011/11/america-recycles-day/k, Video from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zEBEXPB4c0&feature=player_embedded