On November 6-15, U.S. Embassy Abuja's volunteer-led Green Stripe Initiative launched a plastic bottle drive competition to commemorate America Recycles Day.
Celebrated each year on and in the weeks leading up to November 15, thousands of communities across the United States participate in activities to raise awareness and encourage increased and improved recycling in the United States. America Recycles Day's call-to-action, "#BeRecycled," is an invitation to actively live a recycled lifestyleâ€“to commit to reducing, reusing, and recycling every day.
This year, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja hosted an Embassy-wide competition to motivate people to put their bottles and cans in the recycling bin instead of the trash. The goal was to encourage consciousness around what we consume and to educate our U.S. and Nigerian community on how to properly dispose of recyclable items locally in Abuja.
On November 6, the U.S. Embassy borrowed a 12-foot tall by 4-foot wide bottle-shaped recycling cage from Abuja-based anti-litter organization Stop Don't Drop. Over the course of a week, American and Nigerian employees dropped their recyclables into the bin and filled it until it was overflowing.
All collected recyclables will go directly to social good organization Chanja Datti Ltd. via the "Bottles for Books" program. The proceeds earned from the waste help out-of-school children in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja resume their education.
"We're so happy to see such a positive response from our colleagues," said Tyler Nunley, General Services Officer, and Green Stripe Initiative leader. "Campaigns like America Recycles Day are really important, and they help to energize our community and create a new, local recycling habit."
While Nigerians generate over 32 tons of waste each year, there is no real standardized or institutionalized approach to recycling. However, several organizations are working hard to expand recycling capacity, and educate the public on the value of recycling.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate over four pounds of trash daily. Of that amount, 1.5 pounds can be recycled or composted. Recycling gives products new life and saves energy, creates jobs, and helps reduce landfills.
Green Stripe Initiative is a U.S. Embassy Abuja-wide volunteer committee open to all who are interested in identifying ways our community can better care for the natural environment and reduce our impact on Nigeria and the world. In April 2019, Green Stripe hosted a launch event to kick off its first focus as an initiativeâ€“embassy-wide recycling.