As we begin to restore our economy following the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to think about recycling and the circular economy, which is aimed at eliminating waste and the use of finite resources. The industry generates billions of dollars of economic activity.
In the U.S., the recycling industry is a disaggregated network of thousands of local governments, each responsible for how and what to recycle. While some communities are abandoning their recycling programs, many communities are committed to recycling. (The Recycling Partnership’s 2020 State of U.S. Curbside Recycling Report)
Recycling needs to be supported by a coordinated action of the complete supply chain. Three steps are needed to support the circular economy: support for local recycling programs with policies and capital; significant investment in domestic infrastructure and end markets; and broad stakeholder engagement.