On Tuesday Nov. 15, 2011, communities across the United States will participate in clothing swaps and collection drives in celebration of America Recycles Day (ARD).

The event launched in 1997 as an annual initiative devoted to encouraging Americans to recycle throughout the year.  ARD is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling in the United States, and organizers hope it will be even bigger this year than in 2010.

On America Recycles Day, let us respond to our collective responsibility as a people and a Nation to be better stewards of our global environment, and to pass down a planet to future generations that is better than we found it, President Barack Obama proclaimed.

An estimated 2 million people will join together in the month of November to celebrate ARD.  The unofficial holiday is hosted by Keep America Beautiful, a volunteer network created for community improvement and education.

Recycling not only protects the environment, it strengthens the community, Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, said in press release. The simple act of recycling creates the impetus for innovation in industry and fosters green jobs. Recycling can save communities money through more efficient waste management, and significantly reduces energy costs and demands on our natural resources. Ultimately, recycling improves a community's cohesion and impacts the local quality of life.

In the current economic turmoil, recycling can foster and promote jobs. The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE) estimates that more than one million manufacturing jobs are created by remanufacturing recycled products.  It all starts with the decision to recycle and buy recycled products.

Researchers say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and ARD aims to kick-start a more eco-friendly lifestyle for people across America! Start with one small step, like donating used clothing to the Good Will or starting a green program at the office.  

Schools and communities across the country are holding events and activities to educate and motivate the public to recycle.  Find out what's happening in your community at the America Recycle Web site.

Keep America Beautiful also sponsors a video competition called Recycling is no joke. Head over to the America Recycles Day YouTube channel and like the best video. Voting ends at 3 p.m. EST.  Those entered have the chance to win $1,000.