Senators introduce legislation to strengthen recycling, composting efforts

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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 via 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,” says Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware, who is a sponsor of the 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.” Carper is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

Co-sponsors include 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.

“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,” Carper says.

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 both national and state performance.

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 aiming to improve recycling accessibility at the local level. The goal of the program is to fund eligible projects that would improve access to recycling using a hub-and-spoke model for recycling infrastructure development.