Billion Bottle March II Celebrates America Recycles Day in El Monte
  by : J. Michael Huls
The Billion Bottle March @2004 was held Sunday, November 13, 2005, at Arceo Park in the City of El Monte in celebration of America Recycles Day. The unique half-day event attracted hundreds of local residents and youth who participated to raise awareness in the community about the billion plastic bottles carelessly discarded each year in California. Co-sponsored by the California Department of Conservation, and the City’s four commercial refuse haulers, the symbolic march was held with the help of half the schools in El Monte, as well as many civic organizations and businesses. The Billion Bottle March featured a live band, and circled Arceo Park while participants shouted environmental slogans, and carried signs and banners, to encourage local action to protect the environment and increase recycling of plastic water bottles.

The Billion Bottle March was followed by free food and drinks, recycling games, information tables, and a recycled art and fashion show including the eco-design and decorating of t-shirts imprinted with the Billion Bottle March logo. One of the key features of the Billion Bottle March was to involve local schools to use recycling as a fund raiser as well as awareness builder. Recyclers were on hand to accept CRV materials from the public and participating schools who were paid up to four times the normal CRV value. Two of the four trash companies, Phoenix Refuse and Recycling and American Reclamation, donated the CRV difference that resulted in $10,750 to the schools (kudos to Phoenix), and $6,937.04 to the community (kudos to American Reclamation). Total weight recycled was 6,872 lbs or over three tons! The other two haulers, Valley Vista Services and Waste Management, Inc., also contributed valuable in-kind services for advertisements, games, food, drinks, and many other supplies that really made the event fun and attractive.

City Council members were on hand to greet the public and encourage residents to support recycling and waste prevention. Recycle Rex from the DOC made a special appearance on stage, and live music was provided for event participants. The public was urged to increase recycling and decrease wastage, improve the community, and protect the storm water system from litter.

Further information can be provided by calling David Ellis, Environmental Services Manager, City of El Monte, at (626) 590-2062.

Sample photos are shown below.