Joyce, Phillips Introduce Bill to Improve Recycling Efforts

Mar 02, 2020
Great Lakes
Press

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) announced that he has joined Congressman Dean Phillips (MN-03) in introducing H.R. 5906, the RECYCLE Act, a bipartisanbill to increase community outreach, awareness and education on recycling.

“Recycling is critical to keeping Northeast Ohio and its natural resources, like Lake Erie, free of plastic and other types of pollution,” said Dave. “However, between ever-evolving rules and so many different materials to sort through, nearly a third of all items that are recycled end up in landfills. I’m proud to introduce the RECYCLE Act with Rep. Phillips to help households understand how to avoid contamination that often causes recyclable materials to end up in the landfill and invest in recycling programs that are successfully keeping our communities clean.”

“Around the country, people are expressing confusion about recycling guidelines – often it’s not at all clear how best to dispose of materials responsibly,” Rep. Dean Phillips said. “This bill will lower the number of recyclable materials that end up in the landfill due to contamination. I am proud to co-lead the RECYCLE Act with Rep. Joyce, and I look forward to working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to get this to the President’s desk.”

Recycling provides significant contributions to American prosperity and the protection of our environment. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycling activities in the United States account for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages annually. And in 2014, the amount of municipal solid waste recycled and composted provided a reduction of over 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, which equates to a year’s worth of emissions from over 38 million cars.

However, reports indicate that one-third of materials put into household recycling bins ultimately end up in landfills, either because the material is not recyclable or is not accepted by a community’s recycling program. These materials contaminate the recycling stream, resulting in lower quality recycled material that is not able to be sold for reuse and ends up as waste.Additionally, nearly $9 billion worth of recyclable materials are thrown away each year. TheRECYCLE Act would lead to vast improvements in community and residential recycling programs by:

  • authorizing $15 million in grants per year over five years to states, local governments, Indian tribes, nonprofits, and public private partnerships to educate and inform consumers and households about their residential and community recycling programs;
  • directing EPA to develop a model recycling program toolkit for States, local governments, Indian tribes, and partners to deploy in order to improve recycling rates and decrease contamination in the recycling stream; and
  • requiring EPA to more frequently review and revise, if appropriate, its Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, which designate products containing recycled materials and provides recommended practices for federal agencies to purchase such products.

Supporters of the RECYCLE Act include: The Recycling Partnership, National Association of Manufacturers, Solid Waste Association of North America, National Waste & Recycling Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Beverage Association, American Chemistry Council, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Paper Recycling Coalition, American Forest & Paper Association, Can Manufacturers Institute, The Association of Plastic Recyclers, Plastics Industry Association, Glass Packaging Institute, Procter & Gamble, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, and Wildlife Conservation Society.

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