Keep America Beautiful Helps Increase Access to Recycling Bins Nationwide
STAMFORD, Conn. (Nov. 15, 2016) — As communities across the country recognize the importance of recycling in honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, Keep America Beautiful and The Coca-Cola Foundation announced that they will be awarding 62 grants to communities in 30 states to make recycling bins more readily available and convenient.
The Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program addresses one of the primary barriers to recycling in public spaces — access and convenience. In total, the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program will provide 3,522 recycling bins to colleges and universities, along with 996 bins to local governments and nonprofit organizations. The recycling bins are made possible through a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company.
More than 45 percent of the bins are designed specifically for permanent, ongoing use in public spaces such as athletic fields, K-12 schools, fairs and festivals, special events and park settings, with the remaining 55 percent to be used by students in college residence hall settings. The 2016 program is expected to result in an estimated 1 million pounds of recyclable materials collected during their first year in use.
“The number one thing we can do to get people to recycle is make it convenient,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “With Coca-Cola’s continued support, the grant program addresses that need by creating thousands of new opportunities for people to recycle in public areas across the country.”
The Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Recycling Bin Grant Program addresses lack of convenience by providing a significant number of bins in strategic locations. Including the 2016 grants, over 49,000 recycling bins will have been placed by the program in 925 communities nationwide since its inception in 2007. In addition to the grants, Keep America Beautiful provides technical best practice guidance to grant recipients and organizations about setting up effective away-from-home and on-the-go recycling programs.
“At Coca-Cola, we are working with partners across the country to invest in, and support, a strong recycling system,” said Bruce Karas, vice president of sustainability, Coca-Cola North America. “Through partnerships like the Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program, we can help reduce overall waste by making it even easier and more convenient for people to recycle both at home and in public spaces.”
Grant recipients were chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on their potential to collect the most cans and bottles as well other considerations such as the extent of their need, recycling experience, and their ability to sustain the program in the future. A full list of the 2016 Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant recipients, as well as Keep America Beautiful’s best practices guide, “Designing Effective Public Space Recycling Programs,” are available at http://bingrant.org.
To leverage local investment to further expand recycling in public spaces, preference was given to applicants that agreed to make a matching purchase of additional recycling bins beyond those awarded through the grant. All told, the grants and matching local investment will result in close to 5,000 new recycling bins being placed in the targeted communities.
Behavioral research has shown that two of the primary barriers that stop people from recycling are the lack of convenient opportunities and confusion about what and how to recycle. A 2009 study conducted by Keep America Beautiful showed only 12 percent of surveyed public locations had infrastructure to recover recyclable items. This lack of recycling opportunities is reflected in a separate national survey conducted for Keep America Beautiful in 2013, in which 92 percent of respondents said they recycle at home while only 41 percent indicated that they typically recycle in public spaces. In addition to providing more convenient opportunities to recycle, the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant helps to address the issue of confusion by providing bins that incorporate recognized best practices for bin design and labeling.
America Recycles Day, a Keep America Beautiful national initiative, takes place on and in the weeks leading into Nov. 15, and is dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. The organization provides an array of tools and resources to help improve recycling in America. By taking the #BeRecycled Pledge, individuals commit to learn about recycling in their community; to consistently and correctly recycle; to reduce personal waste; and to buy products made from recycled content.