For those who don’t already know, March 18th marks a very important date: the first-ever Global Recycling Day.

To all of us here at Recycle Coach, #GlobalRecyclingDay isn’t just another hashtag holiday. It’s an opportunity to empower ourselves and our communities by raising awareness about the importance of recycling.

Global Recycling Day is a worldwide initiative that aims to reframe how we think about plastic recyclables. Right now, when most people look at plastic, they see waste. But it can be so much more than that. It can also be a resource. Which is why the Bureau of International Recycling, the organization behind Global Recycling Day, wants to make plastic the seventh natural resource after water, air, oil, natural gas, coal, and minerals.

Yes, I know—trying to wrap your head around plastic as a natural resource sounds… counterintuitive. But think about it… Plastic is EVERYWHERE. It’s become a permanent fixture in all of our natural environments, from the bottom of our deepest oceans to the shores of our remotest islands.

In some cases, wildlife has even adapted to plastic. Some hermit crabs, for instance, have begun switching out shells for plastic bottles. But this is a rare exception. In most cases, plastic has proven detrimental to wildlife.

This is why Global Recycling Day matters. Instead of adding more plastic to our planet, it urges us to recycle what we already have. To maximize our plastic resources and minimize the impact they have on our planet. So here are three ways you can participate this Sunday.

Sign the Petition

What are you waiting for? By signing Global Recycling Day’s petition to the United Nations (UN), you’re telling the world to take recycling seriously. Plus, you’re spreading awareness for their message. A win-win, right?

By the way, we’ve already signed. Feel free to do the same here.

Buy Better

Instead of contributing to the production of more plastic, look at buying eco-friendly products. It could be as simple as buying a metal drink bottle over the plastic alternative. Thankfully, sustainable products are marked with ecolabels to keep consumers informed.

Some common ones to look out for are: ECOLOGO, Energy Star, and EPEAT, but there are many others. And don’t forget about the Mobius Loop, the international recycling logo, or the Society of the Plastics Industry Symbols. Beyond buying sustainably, it’s also important to properly dispose of items to ensure that they get recycled.

Make Smarter Disposal Decisions

Who knew putting the right stuff in the right bin could be so complicated? But it is. Unfortunately, too many of us incorrectly dispose of certain items. In the waste management business, this is called contamination. And it’s bad. Put one wrong item in your recycling bin, and it could result in a truck full of recyclables going to the landfill. Which is a terrible waste of our plastic resources.

Recycle Coach can help you with that. With our web or mobile app, find out what goes where to keep recyclables in the recycling stream and cut back on contamination. It’s a great tool to add to your arsenal this Global Recycling Day, if we do say so ourselves. We’ll also keep you up-to-date with a local curbside collection calendar, so you never miss another collection day again.

Though Global Recycling Day only happens once a year, you can celebrate it every day by taking an active approach to recycling.