18th March 2018 witnessed the first ever Global Recycling Day, starting a movement that asked the world to think ‘resource not waste’ when it comes to recycling.

From numerous events taking place across the world, to hundreds of articles supporting the initiative, and millions of people taking part on social media, Global Recycling Day has gained momentum, encouraging people across the world from world leaders, to businesses, communities and  individuals to think differently about their recycling habits.

Year one saw 23 Global Recycling Day events take place in cities such as Paris, Sydney, Dubai, Delhi, Johannesburg, Washington DC and Sao Paulo. Events ranged from litter-picks to press conferences and events aimed at children, including a flagship event on Carnaby Street in London. Altogether the events were witnessed by 10,000 people, ensuring that the recycling message was spread far and wide, and publicity reached over 31 million people. Additionally, Global Recycling Day 2018 sought to become recognised by the United Nations as an awareness day, which involved a petition that received over 10,600 signatures. As a result of this campaigning, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between BIR (Bureau of International Recycling) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) at an event in Geneva organised by BIR in September 2018. Along with UNIDO, we agreed to raise awareness of the importance of recycling industries and their potential to create jobs and prosperity, while preserving resources.

This year, Global Recycling Day stepped up a few more notches, focusing on the theme of ‘Recycling into the Future’, to encourage more individuals – in particular the youth – to take part and recycle.

As part of this the #RecyclingGoals challenge was launched, harnessing the power of football to inspire long term recycling habits in young people across the world. The video campaign sparked 941.8k impressions worldwide, with plenty of people getting motivated to make their recycling promise. With help from the #RecyclingGoals campaign, total social media for Global Recycling Day in 2019 surpassed expectations, with over 19 million impressions received, compared to 10.5 million in 2018. This is a huge 85% increase and shows the impact that the movement has had whilst still in its infancy.  

Alongside the #RecyclingGoals challenge, there were 25 worldwide events that took place to celebrate Global Recycling Day in 2019. Locations included Belfast, Brussels, Delhi, Middelburg, Mumbai, Dubai, Middelburg, Lagos, London, Paris, Rotherham, Sao Paolo, Washington DC plus many more. Events included cycling events, beach clean ups, fashion shows and activities for school children – all inspired by the Global Recycling Day team’s outreach. 2019 also saw a host of high-profile brands engaging with Global Recycling Day via Twitter, including Walkers, PepsiCo, Dell, DEFRA and L’Oréal, to name but a few.  Several of these major global brands used the day to spring board their own recycling campaigns, which again emphasises the impact that it had. Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was also lending words of support to Global Recycling Day via DEFRA on Twitter.

On the first two years of Global Recycling Day, Ranjit Baxi, the President of the Global Recycling Foundation said: “It has been amazing to see the development of Global Recycling Day in just two years, with an increased number of global events as well as a huge growth in publicity year on year, with year two reaching 687,310,649 across the globe. Our aim is to raise the profile of the power of recycling in securing the future of our planet and preserving our vital natural resources. We want everyone including individuals, corporations and businesses to recognise their role in improving the circular economy and alleviating the effects of climate change. There have already been plenty of high-profile organisations showing their support for Global Recycling Day and we encourage more companies to get involved, especially as we’re now starting to put plans in place for 2020. We also encourage sponsors to get in touch to help us spread the word further. My goal is to reach 1 billion people for the next Global Recycling Day.”

Any organisations wanting to get involved in Global Recycling Day 2020 should contact the team at: info@globalrecyclingday.org.