Yesterday Honest Tea kicked off a national recycling initiative called "The Great Recycle" in New York City. The event featuring a 30-foot tall recycling bin in Times Square was a huge success with New Yorkers recycling more than 15,000 empty plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers (~1,500 containers each hour). The plastic bottles collected are being recycled into plastic lumber, which GrowNYC will use to build urban gardens for NYC public schools as part of their Grow to Learn program. 5-Boro Green Services will responsibly recycle the other items donated at the event.
"We are thrilled with New York's response to our invitation to keep the (re)cycle going," said Seth Goldman, co-founder and TeaEO of Honest Tea. "While we captured one-third of the amount of bottles Honest Tea sells in a day in New York City, the scale of our effort illustrates how much more work communities need to do to boost national recycling rates above 30 percent, let alone our long-term goal of recapturing every bottle that we sell."
"New York City is making great strides toward a greener, greater future, and initiatives like ‘The Great Recycle’ expand on opportunities for residents and visitors alike to help us meet our sustainability goals," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Thousands of people here in New York and beyond will think twice about throwing out plastics and other recyclables, and the materials collected will be put to excellent use in our public school urban gardens."
New Yorkers came out in droves with bags of empty bottles and cans to recycle. After depositing their containers into the 30-foot recycle bin, they were able to redeem points (one bottle = one point) at the on-site TRASHed Recycle Store. Some of the more popular redemption items were $50 gift certificates to Momofuku and Shake Shack, Element skateboards and a Taylor guitar signed by members of the Zac Brown Band.
It wasn't just New Yorkers who participated in The Great Recycle. People around the country signed up to take the online pledge at www.TheGreatRecycle.com with 35,500 pledging to recycle more each week. All earned points via RecycleBank, which can be redeemed for discounts and deals from more than 3,000 local and national businesses in categories ranging from food and beverage to health and beauty, restaurants, entertainment, sports and recreation, apparel, automotive, electronics and more.
"The Great Recycle" was supported by Honest Tea and partners GrowNYC, Recyclebank, Coca-Cola Live Positively, Global Inheritance and 5-Boro Green Services. Plans are already being made for the next Great Recycle event. And, of course the 30-foot bin will be reused. The company will be announcing additional Great Recycle events in the coming weeks.