The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft of its National Recycling Strategy for public input preparation for America Recycles Week and ahead of the nation’s third annual Recycling Summit.
According to a news release from the EPA, the draft identifies strategic objectives and actions needed to create “a stronger, more resilient U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system.”
“Over the last two years, we’ve heard from our partners about the challenges facing our nation’s recycling system, and in particular for municipal solid waste recycling,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our strategy aims to move recycling in America forward by identifying actions that all of us—governments, nonprofits, private industry and the public—can take together.”
The EPA says its National Recycling Strategy draft was developed as part of its continued leadership in addressing the challenges facing the U.S. recycling system and builds on the EPA’s 2019 National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System. EPA says its strategy organizes high-level actions around three objectives to improve the U.S. recycling system, including:
- reducing contamination;
- increasing processing efficiency; and
- improving end markets.
EPA has shared its National Recycling Strategy draft for public comment through Dec. 4, with the goal of finalizing it in early 2021.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has announced that it has submitted comments to the EPA regarding this draft. In its comments, ISRI focuses on ensuring the goals and metrics developed by the EPA are clear and consistent with the current structure of the recycling industry so that recyclers may achieve economic development and job creation through enhanced manufacturer demand for recycled materials that come from a strengthened recycling system.
According to a news release from ISRI, the association is encouraging the EPA to incorporate systemwide recycling measures to assess recycling performance in its National Recycling Strategy draft. ISRI says the most effective measurement for the recycling system’s resiliency is gauging whether materials successfully pass through recycling and are consumed by manufacturers.
ISRI also has encouraged the EPA to focus its National Recycling Strategy on reducing contamination in the recycling stream. ISRI says it believes an EPA-directed, nationwide education and awareness campaign would be the “most effective means” to improving consumer understanding of the steps that need to be taken to enhance recycling and reduce contamination.
Additionally, ISRI has advised the EPA to include details on increasing material processing efficiency. ISRI says processing efficiency will improve through the amount of material that successfully passes through operations, correlating with a decline in materials sent to landfill.
Regarding end markets, ISRI tells the EPA that “recycled content … is the strongest for monitoring changes in market demand for recycled materials through changes in the amount of recycled materials that are incorporated into new products.”
Click here to read the National Recycling Strategy and provide comments.