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Television program brings together recycling initiatives to improve the recycling process

Recycle Across America® (RAA, recycleacrossamerica.org) has joined forces with Participant Media to launch a social action campaign focused on transforming recycling and improving the economics and prevalence of sustainable packaging and manufacturing. The campaign, unveiled today at the European Union’s Environmental Summit by RAA’s founder Mitch Hedlund, is inspired by Participant’s new show “Human Resources,” premiering August 8 on its television network Pivot.

“Human Resources” follows the non-stop, deadline-driven world of TerraCycle®, a company whose mission is to eliminate waste on a global scale. The Recycle Right! campaign offers informational videos, tips and practical solutions – such as standardized recycling labels – to help everyone recycle right and increase the amount of quality raw recycled materials available to be used by manufacturers looking to lessen their environmental footprint.

“We can’t sit idle knowing that millions of tons of valuable recyclable materials, which are easy to convert into new products and packaging, are going to waste every year.  Which one of us wants to throw billions of dollars and our environmental wellbeing into landfills?  That’s what we’re doing if we’re not recycling right,” says Tom Szaky, CEO TerraCycle.  “We’re thrilled to join forces with Participant Media and Recycle Across America to fix the dysfunction of recycling and move the needle toward progress.  And we can’t wait for audiences to watch ‘Human Resources’ to see inside our world at TerraCycle where every day we’re proving that even the most undesirable and traditionally non-recyclable materials can have a new purpose and can be valuable.”

Historically there have been thousands of different looking labels on public area recycling bins causing confusion and resulting in tons of garbage being thrown in recycling bins each day.  A key component of the campaign is expanding the use of standardized recycling labels to help eliminate confusion at the bins and empowering everyone to recycle right. The campaign aims to double the amount of standardized labels being used by the end of the year to one million. Use of the standardized labels on recycling bins have shown to:

  • Increase recycling levels by more than 50 percent and significantly reduces the amount of trash thrown in recycling bins.
  • Help ensure a consistent quality and quantity of recycled materials. This helps keep the cost of recycled raw materials competitive with virgin materials.

“We are incredibly excited to work with two of the most predominant leaders of change in their industries, Participant Media and TerraCycle!  Worldwide waste is expected to double by 2025 and with the U.S. being the largest producer of waste in the world, it is imperative that we address this issue today,” RAA executive director, Mitch Hedlund explains. “We need to remind ourselves that it’s not just waste that’s doubling; it’s the use of finite natural resources and generation of excessive CO2 that will also double.  This is why we're thrilled to work with these companies to advance the use of the standardized labels.  It's a deceivingly simple solution that creates exponential progress - and I think we're all ready for some progress!"

Chad Boettcher, EVP of Social Action and Advocacy at Participant Media says:  “We know that recycling is the most important action we can do to improve the environment yet the percentage of valuable materials being recycled has not improved much over the past 17 years,” Boettcher continues, “We are eager to work with Recycle Across America and TerraCycle to spread awareness on such a tangible and easy step we can all take in improving the health of our world environmentally and economically.”   

Many industry leaders have already begun using the labels on their bins, such as: NBCUniversal, Hallmark, Kohler, Walt Disney World employee areas, Procter & Gamble manufacturing, SanDisk, AOL, two thousand U.S. K-12 schools – including all the public schools in Washington DC, many universities including University of Denver, George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University, and thousands of other adopters. Today approximately half a million of RAA’s standardized labels are in use throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.  The RAA and Participant Media through Recycle Right! will continue this effort.

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