The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, commends the U.S. House of Representatives for holding a hearing on “Strengthening Community Recycling Programs: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The Feb. 5 hearing, held by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, was a timely and necessary exploration of the current state of recycling in the nation and what role the federal government can play in helping communities and citizens adapt to changing markets, SWANA says in a news release.
Witnesses called to speak at the event included Peter Wright, the assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Daniel Corona, mayor of West Wendover, Nevada; Michael Gajewski, the managing director of Closed Loop Partners; Elizabeth Biser, vice president of public affairs for The Recycling Partnership; and Adam Ortiz, the director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection in Maryland. Both Biser and Ortiz are SWANA members, and Wright spoke at several SWANA events in 2019, the association says.
“We are pleased that Congress is exploring a greater federal role to help strengthen local recycling programs,” says David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO. “While EPA did a heroic job convening a diverse group of stakeholders over the past year to develop the National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System, which was released in November 2019, further federal assistance and coordination is needed.”
As the House seeks options for supporting community recycling programs, SWANA urges all representatives to pass the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, which has been approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote. This legislation, SWANA says, establishes a postconsumer materials management infrastructure grant program and trash-free water grants that will help local waste management authorities to make improvements and meet waste management standards at this critical time.
In addition to supporting the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, SWANA continues to advocate for other bills that provide valuable funding for community recycling: H.R. 5115, the Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Values of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act, and S. 2941, the Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act. The bills were introduced in the House and Senate in November 2019.