A Capitol Assist

Federal greenhouse gas bill would help recycling programs.

As Waste Age's October issue was going to press, U.S. Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., unveiled the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. While it will take some time to assess the bill's overall potential impact on the solid waste industry, one thing was immediately clear: it could be a help to local recycling programs.

The legislation mandates a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, when compared with 2005 emission levels, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050. The bill also would create a federal cap-and-trade program. Similar legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

Additionally, the bill would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a program in which the agency would distribute money to the states to help carry out recycling programs. At least 25 percent of the money would have to go to local governments, at least 25 percent to recycling facilities and at least 25 percent to manufacturing facilities.

The Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries was quick to applaud the provisions. “We are pleased that the U.S. Senate is recognizing the important contributions of recycling toward reducing greenhouse gases, which is central to the goals of climate change legislation,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener in a press release. “Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by significantly lowering the amount of energy needed to manufacture the products that we buy, build and use. Moreover, recycling helps create good ‘green’ jobs here in the United States.”

Kerry and Boxer's legislation will almost surely be subjected to a significant number of amendments while it is being considered by the Senate. Waste Age will continue to follow this story in print and online.

In other recycling news:

  • Folsom, Calif.-based Waste Connections is teaming up with New York-based RecycleBank to provide recycling services to residents of 10 Denver suburbs and Colorado Springs, Colo.

    The RecycleBank program encourages households to recycle by rewarding them with points based on the amount they recycle. The points are redeemable at local and national retailers, restaurants and grocery stores.

    During the fall, new 96-gallon recycling carts will be delivered to Waste Connections customers in the Denver suburbs and Colorado Springs area.

    “By encouraging households to recycle with the added incentive of RecycleBank rewards, Waste Connections of Colorado collects more recyclables, reducing waste otherwise destined for landfill disposal,” said Waste Connections Central Regional Vice President Phil Rivard in a press release. “Moreover, it's easier than ever for residents to recycle — the new program brings with it single-stream recycling, in which households can place all acceptable recycling materials into one cart without having to sort paper, plastic, tin and glass separately.”

  • The Hillsborough County (Fla.) Solid Waste Management Department has launched an education campaign that officials are hoping will increase recycling in the county by 10 percent.

    The new campaign features a Web site — www.HillsboroughRecycles.org — at which residents can order new recycling bins and learn about the benefits of recycling. Another component of the campaign is the “Famous Bins” contest. Picture riddles will appear on billboards and bus sides throughout the county, and residents can submit their answers at the Hillsborough Recycles Web site.

    The education campaign is funded through the county's partnership with the Curbside Value Partnership./p>

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