How To Use Earth911 To Improve Your Community’s Recycling & Reuse Results

“Recyclable” labels are popping up everywhere, but companies seldom provide the information needed to actually recycle or reuse a product or its packaging in our communities. Join Earth911’s more than 2,000 volunteer curators to help your community identify what materials every local option, from the blue bin and transfer stations to private recycling and nonprofit reuse programs — we need diverse collection and processing infrastructure, one that people can find and use with confidence, to jumpstart the circular economy.

While we applaud efforts like The Recycling Partnership’s Recycle Check app and website that delivers local curbside recycling information, there are two major issues with relying solely on curbside programs. Curbside pickup is available to only about 59% of U.S. households, as multifamily homes and too many communities lack curbside recycling access. More importantly, curbside programs concentrate only on the easiest to recycle materials — paper, metal, plastic, and in some cases, glass — condemning the majority of materials and many forms of plastic to landfills instead of another useful life. Moreover, reuse through donations and sharing programs is even more effective at reducing human environmental impacts.

Earth911 has labored for 34 years to assemble a comprehensive database of recycling and reuse information covering more than 280,000 programs, drop-off locations, mail-in and donation programs with a very small team, one that depends on a group of community members who take the time to submit new locations and update existing listings.

Now that sites like How2Recycle point to Earth911, and by extension the 500+ brands that use How2Recycle labels, it’s more important than ever that we get each of you who care about the environment and your communities to contribute to the effort. You can sign up to participate in the Earth911 community today and get started immediately. Just follow the instructions you’ll receive by email.

If you are a government employee who oversees collection programs, we urge you to join and keep your local curbside and transfer station listings up to date. Do you own or work at a recycling company? Join and add your locations for free — if you have too many locations and materials to manage conveniently, Earth911 offers affordable managed listings services. Just ask us how we can make it easy for your recycling services, donation program, or reuse program to be found and used by the 650,000 people who visit us each month.

It’s So Easy That We Do It Every Day

Here’s the process we go through to ensure new listings and updates are accurate. First, our contributors enter information about their programs, including the address, phone, website, and materials accepted, along with any special guidance using a form on our listings platform (sign up to get access). The listing goes live after our data team reviews the information, checks the information is accurate, and adds the location to our mapping system. If you have a mail-in program we support those to, showing the listings to people across the country.

New and updated listings typically go live within a day. Your neighbors, customers, and the whole community get easy access to the listings you share. It’s that easy, and we’re dedicated to improving the information, so let us know what new materials or types of programs you’d like to add.

With just a little information, people can take meaningful action to increase recycling and reuse rates. And we’ve found that once folks start to engage with the materials they buy and use, they also spend more time and effort to shop wisely to reduce their waste and environmental impact.

We Have The Power To Change, If We Share Useful Information

Please take a moment to become an Earth911 Curator, then add or update listings whenever you find new services your community should know about and use. Let’s clean up the planet and go easy on Nature for a positive change. Join the effort to make recycling and reuse information available to everyone today, it will make a difference you can count.

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