On 15 November 2019, US Representatives Tony Cárdenas and Larry Bucshon introduced the Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act. Through a coalition of partners, led by the Plastics Industry Association (Plastics), the bill H.R. 5115, would allocate federal grants to states and municipalities to invest in improving their recycling programs and infrastructure, including upgrading plants that receive and process recyclables and enhance the recovery and collection of materials.
“This bipartisan, commonsense bill is a smart solution to a growing problem,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “The RECOVER Act encourages local and state governments to invest in recycling programs and new technologies to increase collection rates and promote consumer education. This grant would support public-private partnerships and will help communities across the nation to expand and modernize our country’s recycling infrastructure. This bill would create new jobs, boosts our economy and, ultimately, it is good for American families and the environment.”
“As the father of four kids, it is important to me to leave future generations with a cleaner environment than the one we inherited from our parents and grandparents,” said Congressman Bucshon. “One of the ways that we have been successful in cleaning up our nation’s environment is by encouraging greater numbers of Americans to recycle waste items instead of discarding them in landfills. Today, our nation is facing a recycling crisis due to inadequate infrastructure and the inability to keep up with waste stream contamination. Without the proper recycling infrastructure in place, we will not have the capacity needed to recycle waste items and they will either end up in a landfill, our oceans, or elsewhere in the environment as litter. On America Recycles Day, I am proud to join Congressman Cárdenas in introducing the RECOVER Act, which will help promote greater investment in recycling infrastructure and consumer education to ensure our nation has the recycling infrastructure needed to continue allowing Americans to recycle waste items instead of sending them to the landfill.”
The bill H.R. 5115, which establishes a recycling infrastructure program within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), puts federal funding towards building new recycling technology and programs to help increase collection rates, improve the sortation and separation of materials, enhance the performance of curbside collection and more.
“We applaud Representatives Cárdenas and Bucshon for introducing a bill that will improve our recycling systems and educate Americans on the importance of reclaiming valuable materials and repurposing them for greater use,” said Tony Radoszewski, president and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association. “This bipartisan bill will help address the infrastructure shortcomings that can contribute to recyclable materials ending up in our oceans and waterways and we look forward to working with the representatives to move it forward. We are thankful to the coalition members who helped in the development of the bill because improving our recycling infrastructure is necessary for all materials.”
Some of the supporters of the legislation include the American Chemistry Council, American Frozen Food Institute, Ameripen, Berry Global, Erema, Flexible Packaging Association, Foodservice Packaging Institute, Glass Packaging Institute, International Bottled Water Association, Kenrich Petrochemicals, Inc., National Waste & Recycling Association, The Recycling Partnership, SNAC International, Solid Waste Association of North America, Sustainable Packaging Coalition/GreenBlue, Unilever, and The Vinyl Institute.
“I am in full support of the RECOVER Act,” said the Chairman and CEO of Berry Global, Tom Salmon. “The time is now to enhance our country’s recycling system through improvements in infrastructure and education at all levels – national, state, and local. Increasing recycling access and material recovery is the first step towards moving to a truly circular economy.”