In a statement issued on Tuesday, the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) called on government officials to employ the most environmentally and ethically responsible disposal of the storm debris materials, especially recycling and reuse. It also urged against open burning of debris, which often has been a tactic used after storms.
"The NRC recognizes the crisis for the residents and businesses is-as it should be- everyone's focus of the initial recovery efforts. However, as we've learned from Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, the next stages must involve a restoration of the infrastructure, which by necessity includes appropriately dealing with the millions of tons of debris. There is an opportunity to recover some of the material if proper steps are taken in the recovery process," NRC President Bob Gedert said in a statement.
Among the possibilities for recycling, the group pointed to vegetative debris, as well as concrete and metal. The NRC stressed its opposition to the use of open air burning to dispose of debris, as has been done with previous disasters. According to the group, that method releases millions of pounds of toxins into the air, which has long-term deleterious health impacts on the already affected populace.
NRC has established a Hurricane Harvey Task Force to engage in assistance with flood related materials management. NRC will be working with various partners including the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Cooperative Teamwork and Recycling Assistance (CTRA), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), NRC trade association member Construction and Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) and numerous others on effective, environmentally, and ethically sound recovery of hurricane debris.