Recycling is an essential public service that shouldn’t be at risk because of short-term market challenges. That message is the most important thing to remember this Earth Day, April 22, and every other day, according to the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).
“Local governments should not turn off recycling in 2019 because it’s not profitable,” said SWANA CEO and Executive Director David Biderman in a statement. “Recycling systems and programs protect public health and the environment and need to be supported by sustainable funding structures. Revenue from selling recovered material is important but should not always be the sole source of funding.”
SWANA said it is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and leaders across North America to develop a framework to improve America’s recycling infrastructure. Over the past year, SWANA has advocated for and seen increased investments in public education that is reducing contamination and increasing the value of recyclables. That working group also celebrates the announcement of expansions at more than a dozen paper mills and several plastic processing facilities in Southeast United States, adding domestic demand and reducing reliance on exports to foreign markets.
“Working with EPA, our members and other recycling stakeholders, we are committed to helping communities throughout North America make recycling systems more resilient,” said Biderman. “Earth Day marks an opportunity to remind all Americans about that need and also the need to recycle properly.”
SWANA will continue to emphasize the importance of recycling right and has worked with others in the industry to create and distribute educational materials about reducing contamination.
“Being involved in advancing the SWANA Recycling Task Force has been extremely beneficial to ensure, as an industry, we all move toward more standardized, educational messaging both locally in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as nationally across North America,” said Robert Smouse, city of Fort Worth assistant director of Solid Waste Services, in a statement. “Focusing on recycling right will help reduce contamination, wishcycling and operational program costs, while increasing the value and quality of our recycled materials and ensuring the continued success of our recycling industry.”
This year, SWANA will celebrate Earth Day with a variety of live and online tools to engage the public with recycling properly. Check out SWANA’s media kit with infographics, social media graphics and a video to help spread awareness on Earth Day. SWANA will go live on Twitter at 1:30 p.m. ET April 17 to discuss the changing nature of recycling.