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It’s the beginning of the holiday season. Why not get into the spirit by celebrating one or all of these environmental awareness days in November!

America Recycles Day – November 15th

The twenty-fifth annual America Recycles Day is being held on Monday, November 15th, in an effort to recognize the importance and impact of recycling and encourage communities and businesses to be more conscious about their waste management. According to the EPA, the recycling rate has risen from less than 7% in 1960 to a current rate of 32%, and, along with reuse initiatives, accounts for 681,000 jobs and $37.8 billion in wages.

From conserving energy and natural resources to eliminating landfill waste and supporting thousands of jobs, recycling is beneficial to both the environment and the economy. And while recycling should be a no-brainer, it can cause more harm than good when the wrong items are recycled. Get involved this America Recycles Day by first educating yourself and staff on the proper way to manage your waste; contact your local collection facility to confirm which materials they accept and get guidance on where to dispose of hard-to-recycle items such as batteries, electronics and chemicals. Check out the EPA’s How Do I Recycle?: Common Recyclables to get started and begin installing recycling bins in convenient locations throughout your business as a reminder to be green. You can also use the EPA’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM) to calculate emission reductions and energy and cost savings through various waste management practices – source reduction, recycling, landfilling, composting, combustion and more.

World Children’s Day – November 20th

First established in 1954 by the United Nations, World Children’s Day seeks to initiate global action to improve the welfare of children worldwide and advocate for their rights. November 20th is also the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and the Convention on the rights of children by the UN General Assembly.

World Children’s Day strongly ties into sustainability in that our choices today shape the future for younger generations and so, it is our responsibility to ensure they have the resources, security and opportunities they need to thrive. This begins with us understanding how our choices impact the world and its future longevity, and committing ourselves to do better.

Here are some ideas for celebrating World Children’s Day:

  • Donate to one of many children’s charities such as Save The Children, Prevent Child Abuse and No Kid Hungry.
  • Learn about current issues facing children today.
  • Become a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor to support the mental and emotional development of youth in need.
  • Support the provision of resources for LGBTQ+ youth through The Trevor Project.
  • Become actively involved in your child’s life by designating one-on-one time with them, exploring their hobbies and interests and having meaningful conversations.
  • Make giving back to the community a whole family affair. Get involved with trash cleanups, food drives, charity walks and other community outreach events.

Black Friday – November 26th

Falling on the Friday before Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day in the U.S., marked by epic deals and flash sales. While it sparks a euphoric shopper’s high, Black Friday has significant environmental and social impacts in the form of increased emissions, resource use, and landfill waste (as consumers throw out the old to make room for the new). The shopping craze also adds to the global issue of sweatshop labor and worker abuse, and often threatens shoppers’ mental health through overconsumption, overspending and impulse buying.

Celebrate Black Friday the green way by saying no to buying new and finding ways to enjoy the stuff you already have. Here are some ideas:

  • Give your things new life by mending, repairing and giving them a good clean.
  • Organize an item swap with friends to exchange an item you don’t need for something used. This is also a great way to spend time with people you love!
  • Explore minimalism, a tool for restoring clarity and value in your life through understanding your relationship with things. Minimalist experts, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, offer guidance to minimalism through their books, blog, podcast and other resources online.
  • Instead of adding to the world’s waste problem, do the opposite! Join a cleanup event in your community or donate clothing, books, toys, etc. to people in need.

Be sure to check out our other tips and ideas for celebrating environmental awareness days throughout the year!

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