U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Larry Bucshon (IN-8) introduced the Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act on America Recycles Day, November 15.
Through a coalition of partners, led by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), the bill, H.R. 5115, would allocate $500 million in matching 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.
H.R. 5115 aims to establish a recycling infrastructure program within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), put federal funding toward 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.
“This bipartisan, commonsense bill is a smart solution to a growing problem,” said Cárdenas in a statement. “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.”
In addition to establishing a $500 million matching grants program to support and expand the recycling programs and infrastructure, the RECOVER Act would require the EPA to submit a report to Congress no later than two years after the date of enactment of this legislation on measures taken toward implementation. Moreover, the bill precludes the use of EPA funds for incineration.
“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 Bucshon in a statement. “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.”
“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 PLASTICS, in a statement. “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, Association of Plastic Recyclers, Berry Global, EREMA, Flexible Packaging Association, Foodservice Packaging Institute, Glass Packaging Institute, International Bottled Water Association, Kenrich Petrochemicals, Inc., the National Waste & Recycling Association, The Recycling Partnership, SNAC International, the Solid Waste Association of North America, Sustainable Packaging Coalition/GreenBlue, Unilever and The Vinyl Institute.