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One Person's Trash Is Another's Recycling: Standards Give a Boost to America Recycles Day

Each year, the U.S. marks November 15 as America Recycles Day, recognizing the important role that recycling plays in safeguarding the environment, reducing costs to industry, and promoting economic growth. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) salutes the numerous voluntary consensus standards - many of them developed by members of the ANSI Federation - that provide important support to recycling efforts across the country.

Tinplate and steel cans - used to hold contents as varied as prepared soup, coffee grounds, and kerosene - are among the most commonly recycled consumer items at a rate of about 63 percent. ASTM D5833-12, Standard Guide for Source Reduction Reuse, Recycling, or Disposal of Steel Cans, sets down guidelines for the recycling and related processes of steel cans that contain less than five gallons of liquid or 40 pounds of dry material. The standard was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

Once you've set your recycling on the curb or brought it to a local recycling center, it may seem like the process is over. But for the workers who carry out the transportation and processing of recyclable items, it's just the beginning. Thankfully, the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, has developed an American National Standard providing guidance in connection with containers, two-wheel carts, and associated lifters used to collect and transport refuse and recyclable materials. ANSI Z245.30-2008, Equipment Technology and Operations for Wastes and Recyclable Materials - Waste Containers - Safety Requirements, establishes safety requirements associated with the manufacturing, reconstruction, use, modification, maintenance, service, operation, and installation of these containers, carts, and lifters.

Most people think of cans, bottles, and paper when it comes time to sort the recycling, but it's important to remember that many larger devices and products can also be recycled, either in whole or in part. UL 1963-2011, Standard for Safety for Refrigerant Recovery/Recycling Equipment, provides safety information in connection with the recovery and recycling of refrigerant from cooling devices such as air conditioners, freezers, and refrigerators. The standard was developed by ANSI member and audited designator UL (Underwriters Laboratories).

The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) does its part to support recycling efforts through its recycling-related accreditation programs. ANAB offers accreditation to organizations certifying recyclers of electronic equipment under the Responsible Recycling (R2) Practices for Use guidelines and the e-Stewards standard, as well as for organizations certifying recyclers of scrap under the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS). Both e-Stewards and R2 provide guidance to organizations with electronics recycling operations in order to bolster environmental outcomes associated with the recycling of electronics, while also safeguarding the security of data contained in the devices, among other concerns. RIOS is an integrated scrap recycling system based on ISO 9001, Quality management systems - Requirements, and ISO 14001, Environmental management systems - Requirements with guidance for use. To learn more about ANAB's accreditation of organizations certifying recycling efforts under these three guidelines, visit the ANAB recycling site.

For more information about America Recycles Day, or to sign a pledge to increase the amount that you recycle, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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