In April 2018, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and several partner associations delivered a letter to Capitol Hill 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 importation 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.

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.

So far the signatories of the letter are:

To join PLASTICS in its effort to promote recycling as a key part of policymakers' efforts to improve American infrastructure, please contact Scott DeFife, vice president of government affairs.

U.S. Recyling: Building America's Infrastructure Through Sustainability

Source: Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)