Every April 22, people around the globe celebrate Earth Day as part of an effort to save and nurture the environment. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet.” From combating the impacts of climate change to sustainability, preserving limited natural resources and beyond, the role of the recycling industry is essential to the health and overall well-being of Earth.

Several ISRI members have planned unique activities for their local communities to promote Earth Day 2022.

Sahd Metal Recycling

For the past 16 years, Columbia, Pa.-based Sahd Metal Recycling has teamed up with its industrial customers, conservation and environmental organizations, and community leaders to promote Earth Day and the reduce-reuse-recycle lifestyle. At the height of the pandemic, the company celebrated Earth Day virtually; this year, they’re returning to in-person activities while also continuing some online offerings.

“We’re beyond excited [to be back in person] because we’re ‘people’ people,” says Aileen Romich, who handles business development at Sahd Metal Recycling. “To build relationships with the community and those in attendance, it’s really valuable to be together again and provide these offerings and have everyone feel safe.”

In-person activities that the company has planned include expert presentations; vendor tables; facility tours; demonstrations of the company’s cranes, shears, and torches; contests and prizes, which includes a large YETI cooler; and a free Rocky’s BBQ grab-and-go dinner for those registered on Eventbrite. The company also offers an online Earth Day challenge.

“We’re really trying to incentivize participation in learning and understanding sustainability,” says Dan Sahd, co-owner of Sahd Metal Recycling. “We’re not above using prizes to push knowledge and sustainability. Incentivizing people to learn can light a spark and help them understand [the importance of sustainability].”

The importance of Earth Day cannot be overstated, according to Romich and Sahd. “We only have one [earth],” Sahd says. “Sometimes things seem big and unreachable, but in reality, it’s actually about making a bunch of little decisions [that] can make a huge impact.” Romich adds: “We all live here, and we only get to do it one time around so we might as well all do our part and raise that awareness of how we can contribute to the sustainability of the place we all live together.”

European Metal Recycling (EMR)

One of the largest recyclers on the planet, Camden, N.J.-based European Metal Recycling (EMR) sustainably recycles 10 million tons of metal and plastic each year and sends it to manufacturers. For Earth Day 2022, the company is sponsoring an event at the Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge, La., which will open the museum to children at no cost for the day.

“EMR is passionate about the future of Baton Rouge. Many of our people live, work and have fun here in the Capital City,” says Andrew Cooley, EMR USA’s vice president of strategy. “For us, supporting both Earth Day and the Knock Knock Children’s Museum are ways to demonstrate our commitment to preserving our natural resources and reinvesting in the next generation. This is a wonderful chance for everyone to bring their children for a hands-on learning experience.”

Cooley and Chip Hunter, vice president of commercial at EMR Southern Recycling, hope EMR’s sponsorship introduces children to the positive impact that recycling has on Earth. By raising the awareness of how EMR and others recycle, they hope to get the next generation educated and excited about the importance of recycling. “Solutions to our planet’s ecological challenges will only be solved when generations work together.” Hunter says. “We want to hand off what we have learned to the children of today—the adults of tomorrow.”

Like Sahd Metal Recycling, EMR is excited to be back in person after the last two years. “For much of the last two years, COVID-19 has kept many of us from enjoying many of nature’s gifts,” Cooley says. “While the pandemic has been tremendously challenging, it has created a renewed interest in enjoying the outdoors. EMR wants Earth Day to be a day where we all recognize the importance that nature has on our lives. As people gather together to celebrate our planet, we hope that there is a renewed recognition of the importance of people in our lives and [that] builds stronger communities.”

ISRI has created an Earth Day 2022 toolkit to help companies spread the message of recycling in their local communities. It contains downloadable graphics for use on websites and social media, a sample press release, and sample social media posts. All ISRI members are encouraged to participate in celebrating Earth Day by hosting an event, engaging in social media outreach, or through other means.

If you have any stories to share from your Earth Day 2022, please reach out to Rachel Bookman, ISRI’s director of communications, or Brian Sprowl, ISRI’s digital publications manager.

Happy Earth Day 2022!