Wed April 11, 2018

Ashley Stoney
Tel: 202.974.5210 | astoney@plasticsindustry.org

Call-to-Action Outlined, Federal Infrastructure Legislation Requested

April 11, 2018 – Washington, DC – The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and eleven partner associations delivered a letter to Capitol Hill today calling on the house majority and minority leaders to develop and advance an infrastructure investment package to address the United States’ need for better recycling efforts and innovation. The timely and urgent call for discussion cites recent decisions – and ultimately, disruptors to U.S. recycling programs – by China to reduce or end the import of scrap material from other nations, coupled with the loss of valuable feedstock for American manufacturing when material that isn’t recycled ends up in landfills.

“Recycled materials are a national resource that are under-utilized in our economy. The facilities that are needed to process recycled materials require modernization. Our letter to lawmakers invites the start of a national dialogue on improving our recycling infrastructure, and jumpstarting the nation's ability to collect, process and recycle more of these valuable commodities,” said PLASTICS Vice President of Government Affairs Scott DeFife. “The nation faces a critical juncture in waste management policies, and the federal government can work with state and local entities to make significant inroads with greater investments in recycling education and infrastructure."

According to the 2016 Environmental Protection Agency’s Recycling Economic Information Report, in one year recycling and reuse in the United States accounted for 757,000 jobs, $36.6 billion in wages and $6.7 billion in tax revenue.

“The U.S. recycling industry is in a transformative time, and through investment in our recycling infrastructure, we can ensure the industry changes and grows in a way that will meet our domestic manufacturing needs for years to come,” said Kim Holmes, PLASTICS’ vice president of sustainability. 

The letter outlines the following priorities to prioritize recycling in the U.S.:

  • Retrofitting Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) with advanced sorting equipment that can identify and properly handle a wider range of packaging forms, including flexible film and smaller items made of otherwise recyclable material
  • Quicker permitting of MRFs, plastics recycling facilities, and conversion technology facilities that create valuable chemicals and energy products
  • Increased use of recycled material in infrastructure products where appropriate
  • Broadened use of private activity bonds for recycling projects
  • Incentive grants for state and local governments to expand curbside recycling options and the range of materials collected. Providing access to curbside recycling to all U.S. residents (less than half of Americans presently have the same level of access to curbside recycling as trash collection) will standardize the types of material that can be and are recovered across the country
  • Education and training to improve understanding of what is recyclable, and to promote the manufacturing jobs aspect of the recycling process will support American jobs, the U.S. economy and the environment. Those jobs are created when recycling is picked up at the curb, when it's taken to a facility to sort it out into metals, plastics and paper and when those materials are turned into something new

The signatories represent public and private sector associations and organizations including:

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The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), formerly SPI, is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, representing nearly one million workers in the $418 billion U.S. industry. Since 1937, PLASTICS has been working to make its members and the industry more globally competitive while advancing recycling and sustainability. To learn more about PLASTICS’ education initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, networking opportunities and policy advocacy, and North America’s largest plastics trade show, NPE: The Plastics Show, visit plasticsindustry.org. Connect with PLASTICS on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.