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Need to Know

Recycling Is Infrastructure Too Campaign Launches

curbside recycling

Washington, D.C. – The Recycling Is Infrastructure Too Campaign brings together a cross-section of industry, government, labor, and environmental leaders to promote increased investment in waste reduction, redesign, reuse, recycling, and composting infrastructure. The Campaign will advocate for policies, funding, and other measures to expand these programs and services and increase the use of reuse systems, recycled content, and compost products in all infrastructure projects. 

Neil Seldman, Director of Waste to Wealth Initiative of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, notes “Recycling Infrastructure is essential for healing the planet by reducing pollution, creating good jobs and saving water, energy and raw materials. This Campaign highlights that these programs and services are an opportunity to address key environmental challenges such as climate change and the health impacts of emissions from solid waste facilities that may disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color.” 

Richard Anthony, Vice-President of Zero Waste USA, says: “This Campaign will highlight the positive economic impacts to people, business, and communities that could come from expanding these valuable programs and services. Investment in recycling infrastructure will benefit the economy, the environment, and rural and urban communities.” As an example, Frank Franciosi, Executive Director of the US Composting Council, calculates that “by investing in compost manufacturing infrastructure, training, and policy, 13.8 million tons of food scraps can be diverted annually from landfills through compost manufacturing, reducing an estimated 4.94 million tons in greenhouse gas equivalents, while creating over 14,200 new jobs.”

Bob Gedert, President of the National Recycling Coalition, stated that: “Increased federal investment in these programs and services will reduce costs, reinvest valuable resources in a circular economy, and divert materials from landfilling and incineration. These programs also will help address our climate crisis by reducing the “upstream” impacts from mining, manufacturing, and distribution of products, and diverting organic materials from landfills. Recycling creates 36 times more jobs and reuse creates up to 300 times more jobs than current disposal practices.”

Thomas Oppel, executive vice president of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), says, “Investing in recycling infrastructure makes good economic sense, as well as environmental sense, by creating new business opportunities, new products and new jobs. That’s why the 250,000 responsible businesses ASBC represents strongly support this Campaign.”

In order for our businesses to create a circular economy, a strong, consistent and nationwide recycling infrastructure is a must” states Stephanie Barger, Director of TRUE Market Transformation, for U.S. Green Building Council. “Collection is only a small part of recycling. To complete closing the loop, businesses need robust markets for their source separated materials which requires this investment in infrastructure.”

The Campaign will build upon similar efforts underway for portions of the industry such as:

·       Plastics Stimulus Bill Recommendations

·       Compost Infrastructure Coalition

·       FoodWasteActionPlan.org

·       The Recycling Partnership Infrastructure Report  

The organizations who joined in the Organizing Meeting of the Campaign on May 18, 2021 and are supporting this Campaign include:

Organizations (in alphabetical order)

1.     American Sustainable Business Council (Thomas Oppel)

2.     Biodegradable Products Institute (Rhodes Yepsen)

3.     Container Recycling Inc. (Susan Collins) 

4.     GreenEducation.us (Jill Donello) 

5.     Institute for Local Self-Reliance (Neil Seldman and Brenda Platt) 

6.     National Recycling Coalition (Bob Gedert)

7.     South Baltimore Community Land Trust, Baltimore's Zero Waste Coalition (Greg Sawtell)

8.     SWANA (David Biderman)

9.     US Composting Council (Frank Franciosi)

10.  US Green Building Council – TRUE Program (Stephanie Barger)

11.  Zero Waste USA (Ruth Abbe, Richard Anthony, and Gary Liss) 

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