U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-MN, introduced the Zero Waste Development and Expansion Act (H.R. 1034) on Feb. 14, which he says is designed to support communities striving toward zero waste by establishing a grant program that funds the infrastructure, technology and community outreach needed to achieve it.
“Preventing waste and diverting it from our landfills means a healthier environment and a more sustainable economy,” Ellison says. “Zero waste is about preventing waste at the source and reusing the rest. It’s also about creating local jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using our limited resources wisely.”
The act is designed to:
- provide critical investment in infrastructure, technologies and practices to prevent waste and reuse, recycle and compost more;
- support local businesses interested in eliminating wasteful practices and packaging; and
- develop outreach and education programs to help people to reuse, recycle and compost.
“Growing local economies while cleaning up the environment makes great business sense. We’ve happy to lend our support to Congressman Ellison’s 'Zero Waste Development and Expansion Act’ as it accomplishes both goals,” Richard Eidlin, vice president of the American Sustainable Business Council, Washington, says. “The bill encourages not only the recycling of materials in products, but also a redesign of the product itself so that it uses less raw materials. We applaud the proposed federal grant program that would provide funds to local governments and businesses to invest in waste reduction, prevention, reuse and recycling initiatives. Zero waste, as practiced by cities across America, is a smart, low-cost solution for businesses and communities concerned about the financial impact waste has on the environment."
“The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) (Washington) is pleased to endorse the Zero Waste Development and Expansion Act,” the NRC says in a letter. “In conjunction with source reduction, reuse and composting, the recycling of valuable materials is essential to a sustainable environmental, energy and economic future. We believe that recycling is a shared responsibility which requires citizen engagement.”
“Zero Waste USA applauds Congressman Ellison’s leadership on this bill. We particularly appreciate that the bill includes the only peer-reviewed, internationally supported definition of Zero Waste. This will ensure the integrity of Zero Waste in the implementation of this bill,” says Ruth Abbe, president of Zero Waste USA, San Diego.