Senators introduce legislation to strengthen recycling, compost efforts

Senators introduce legislation to strengthen recycling, compost efforts

The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act aims to improve data collection on recycling systems and explore the potential of a national composting strategy.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, along with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia, ranking member of the EPW Committee; and John Boozman, Arkansas, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus and member of the EPW Committee, introduced two pieces of legislation focused on improving recycling and composting systems.

The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect and make publicly available data on recycling and composting rates across the country, while the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act would establish a pilot rural recycling program at the EPA.

“When we look at opportunities for reducing pollution and waste and creating good-paying jobs domestically, recycling is an area that unites most Americans,” Carper says in a news release announcing the proposed legislation. “Yet, our nation continues to recycle only about one-third of the products we consume each year, leading to more and more waste overflowing from our landfills and polluting our oceans.

“To address this growing problem, I’m pleased to introduce a pair of bipartisan bills with Senators Capito and Boozman that would help strengthen our nation’s recycling and composting efforts. Our legislation would improve data collection for our nation’s recycling systems, explore opportunities for a national composting strategy, and expand recycling access in underserved communities.”

Recycling and Composting Accountability Act

The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act aims to improve data collection on recycling systems and explore the potential of a national composting strategy. The legislation would require EPA to collect and publish data on recycling and composting rates across the country to provide an accurate reflection of performance both nationwide and at the state level. Officials supporting the bill say this information is critical to improving existing recycling and composting programs and evaluating future recycling policies.

Bill text is available here.

Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act

The Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act would establish a pilot recycling program at the EPA. This program would award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities for improving recycling accessibility in a community or communities within the same geographic area. The goal of the program is to fund eligible projects that would significantly improve access to recycling systems in underserved communities through the use of a hub-and-spoke model for recycling infrastructure development.

Bill text is available here.