In a rare showing of bipartisanship, Democratic and Republican lawmakers this week both supported recycling and composting bills meant to bolster the “circular economy,” according to POLITICO Pro (subscription).
What’s happening: At a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday, “[s]enators focused on the ‘Recycling and Composting Accountability Act’ and the ‘Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act.’ The first bill seeks to boost EPA’s recycling and composting data. The other aims to tackle barriers to recycling, which abound for many communities, including in rural and low-income areas.”
Why it matters: In recent years recycling has come up against sizable market challenges. Countries such as China have begun declining to take waste products and packaging can pose challenges due to their “single-use nature.” The waste is piling up
Recycling challenge: “‘We have a real failure happening in the plastics recycling market,’ said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has been among the most vocal critics of plastics pollution and marine debris, and is sponsoring the ‘Rewarding Efforts to Decrease Unrecycled Contaminants in Ecosystems (REDUCE) Act.’”
- “Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) hit on similar points as he touched on curbside issues. ‘I believe there’s great opportunity to make improvements in the recycling space,’ he said, calling for officials to ‘develop meaningful, long-term solutions’ to address waste.”
The NAM says: “The drive toward a more circular economy truly requires a material-neutral, lifecycle- and solutions-focused approach,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones. “There are still a lot of data and resource gaps, as well as misperceptions related to different materials and recycling—so it’s refreshing to hear policymakers working across the aisle to combat these shared obstacles. These proposals echo the great initiatives started by countless manufacturers across the country who are leading the charge toward an ever-more sustainable future.”