The chance to enjoy nature has never been so welcome as we unite as Americans to slow the spread of COVID-19. For many of us, the best part of the day is when we can get a little fresh air in the backyard, on a hike, or wherever green, open spaces are available.
At a time when public health is our top priority, let’s not forget to show our appreciation on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day to Ohio sustainability workers, organizations and industries committed to environmentally sustainable solutions that help protect the planet.
Great work by Ohio’s solid waste districts, affiliates of Keep Ohio Beautiful, the Association of Ohio Recyclers and many more make Ohio a better place to live, work and play. And I know that their dedication to recycling and litter prevention remains unwavering, even in these very challenging times.
We’ve seen communities across Ohio band together in many ways to maintain a sense of normalcy and preserve the health of our citizens and environment despite the challenges we all face today.
Health care workers and first responders are working around the clock to save lives and contain the virus. So too are the waste management workers, who show up every day to collect trash and recyclable material – critical sanitation and environmental services. Other heroes of this crisis include millions of Ohio farmers, manufacturing workers, delivery drivers, grocery store cashiers and stockers, who take time away from their families so they can support our communities.
We give thanks to all those who are fighting this crisis and providing critical services during this time.
The interruption of daily life hasn’t slowed our industry’s commitment to building a sustainable future, and we continue to press ahead with innovative solutions to reduce the use of plastic entering the environment.
For example, America’s beverage companies are carefully designing our plastic bottles to be 100% recyclable. Last year, The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo launched a new initiative called Every Bottle Back. Through investment and action, our goal is for every bottle to become a new bottle and reduce the need for new plastic. And to do that, we’re partnering with sustainability groups to improve recycling infrastructure, raise awareness about the 100% recyclability of our bottles and reduce our plastic footprint.
That starts in our communities. Through the Every Bottle Back initiative, our members are investing in upgrades to recycling infrastructure and education. More efficient recycling means we can capture more plastic bottles and limit the number of recyclables ending up in landfills. These improvements will help our industry reduce its plastic footprint by increasing the recycled plastic we use and decreasing our use of new plastic.
We’ve also worked to increase access to better community recycling in public spaces like parks, where many Ohioans are visiting today as a respite from being sheltered indoors, because recycling shouldn’t stop when you leave home.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, please join us in taking a moment to thank those keeping our neighborhoods, parks and greater outdoors clean – especially now, when we all need a daily dose of sunshine and fresh air. Today and every day, we commend those working tirelessly to protect our citizens, communities and environment.