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What They Are Saying: Broad Support for Recycling and Composting Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A broad group of stakeholders have voiced support following Senate passage of the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act (RCAA) and the Recycling Infrastructure Accessibility Act (RIAA) — legislation sponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee; Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the EPW Committee and John Boozman (R-Ark.), also a member of the EPW Committee.

Here’s what a range of business organizations, industry stakeholders and environmental advocates are saying about the legislation:

Aluminum Association
“Increasing recycling is one of the simplest ways to reduce manufacturing carbon emissions while growing the economy and shoring up supply chain security. Recycling aluminum is around 95% less carbon and energy intensive than making new aluminum. Both of these bills will help ensure that less aluminum ends up in landfills each year by improving recycling data quality, infrastructure, and access. With genuinely transformative investment underway for the U.S. aluminum industry, now is time to bring more of this material back into the economy.” 

American Beverage Association
“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act will help move our country closer to a circular economy for recyclables that reduces plastic waste and decreases the use of new plastic. We will continue to work with federal lawmakers on well-designed policy that recovers more of our bottles and cans so they can be remade into new ones, as intended, keeping them out of nature.” 

American Chemistry Council
“America’s Plastic Makers commend the Senate on passage of these much-needed recycling bills, which indicate the bipartisan support for critical improvements needed to advance and scale recycling and composting in America. The Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act and the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act offer solutions and a path forward for our country to help keep valuable materials in a circular economy and out of landfills.”

American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA)
“AF&PA applauds the leadership of Senators Carper, Capito and Boozman on reintroducing the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act. We look forward to working with Congress to address any concerns and move this legislation to improve recycling data and accessibility forward.”

American Institute for Packaging and the Environment
“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act of 2023 will provide an accurate reflection of recycling and composting performance nationally and at the state level— information that will be critical to improving existing recycling and composting programs and evaluating future recycling policies. The Act will also explore the potential of a national residential composting strategy—something AMERIPEN believes is critical to identifying barriers to composting and help compostable packaging become even more successful in the U.S.”

“AMP would like to thank Chairman Carper, Senator Boozman, and Senator Capito for sponsoring the ‘Recycling and Composting Accountability Act’ and to express support for this bipartisan and innovative legislation. AMP fully subscribes to one of the principal goals of this legislation: improving the reporting of data collected at materials recovery facilities. We believe the standardization of this data and the ability to provide accurate and verifiable reports to the appropriate regulatory authorities is a critical step in creating a mechanism to improve the purity of the recycling stream in the United States.”

Association of Plastic Recyclers
“Americans believe in recycling and want to recycle more. Members of the Association of Plastic Recyclers take in post-consumer plastic packaging from every community recycling program across the country and process it so that it can be sold to U.S. manufacturers and made into new plastic packaging and products. APR believes that these bills are important next steps in a continuing series of federal initiatives and actions to make recycling easier and more convenient for all Americans. With more recycling, we can limit plastic waste; reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; and build a more resilient, domestic supply chain for products made from recycled materials. When we recycle more, we can all use less.”

“With our nation’s recycling rate at only 32 percent, we must do more to strengthen recycling and composting infrastructure, protect the environment, and grow the circular economy. Data collection and recycling access are critical to achieving these goals, which is why BASF supports Senators Carper, Capito, and Boozman’s bipartisan bills that seeks to fill much needed information and infrastructure gaps. Only when we have the full picture of our communities’ capabilities can we work to effectively strengthen recycling and composting programs, help our communities thrive, and sustainably protect the environment.”

Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)
“Americans deserve the same level of access to compost as they do trash, which is why the RCAA is so necessary. BPI supports the Act because it provides the tools and information we need to understand existing gaps in compost access, collection and processing infrastructure. Without it, we won't be able to reduce the millions of tons of landfill GHG emissions generated from our food and other organic waste in landfills and divert them to be repurposed as a valuable soil amendment.”

Can Manufacturers Institute
“The Can Manufacturers Institute applauds Sens. Carper, Capito and Boozman for introducing these two bipartisan recycling bills. These bills will help the metal can industry with data to understand where the gaps are in metal can collection and recycling, so we can assess where investments should be made in better collection and sorting. These recycling bills are a good first step in helping the metal can industry achieve its goal of higher national recycling rates for metal cans through better data, consumer incentives and education. However, more action is needed if the United States is to achieve a higher national recycling rate, including a national recycling refund for beverage containers.” 

Closed Loop Partners

“The Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act and the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act mark a significant leap forward for responsible waste management in the United States. Scaling critical infrastructure for processing food waste and compostable packaging––which enables municipalities to avoid costly landfill fees––is a great example of government leadership. Strengthening recycling and composting data collection for state, local and tribal governments will help municipalities make informed decisions. In tandem, these bills will create local jobs, bolster community resilience, divert food waste from landfills and contribute to a more prosperous and circular future for all Americans.”

Consumer Brands Association
“Consumer Brands appreciates the strong, bipartisan effort in Congress to tackle the glaring issues within America’s fragmented recycling system that are keeping us from reaching our potential. Sen. Carper, Capito and Boozman’s recycling bills considered by the committee incorporate the key provisions that previously received strong support as well as critical changes that will boost their potential movement through both chambers as we continue pushing for their ultimate signature into law. These bills make crucial investments and add the tools and resources needed to improve our current recycling systems and evaluate future recycling policies, while improving access to recycling systems in underserved communities.”

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
“Recycling is one of the most important activities that all of us can do every day to help protect our environment, conserve natural materials, reduce energy use, and help combat climate change because recycled materials are important building blocks in the global manufacturing chain. For example, using recycled aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to make virgin aluminum. Accordingly, the RCAA would establish baseline data on recycling and composting in the United States and collect data on the amounts of materials that are being diverted to landfills or incineration. This data is essential to fill the existing data gaps and provide policymakers with a better understanding of our nation’s recycling programs as we discuss policy prescriptions.”

International Bottled Water Association

“The International Bottled Water Association strongly supports and applauds the Senate passage of the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act. The RCAA will gather much needed data to help provide a baseline so consumers, industry, and policymakers alike will better understand U.S. recycling systems. This data is critical as it will inform future policy decisions on how to improve and support a circular economy in the U.S. The RIAA will help boost recycling rates in underserved areas and around the country, which will divert recyclable items from landfills and support a circular economy. Recycled plastic is in high demand as bottled water companies continue to reduce their environmental footprint by using more recycled plastic in their product containers. Using recycled material reduces the need to use virgin plastic, which means less greenhouse gases are emitted in the manufacturing process of those products.”

Keurig Dr Pepper

“Keurig Dr Pepper strongly supports the bipartisan Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure Accessibility Act.  Together, these bills improve the scope and accuracy of recycling and composting data collected by the EPA and access to recycling services in underserved areas—two critical steps toward strengthening the performance of our nation’s recycling and composting systems and a more circular economy.”

“LyondellBasell is excited to see efforts from Congress to reduce the mismanagement of plastic waste, improve recycling accessibility and data, and increase recycling rates in the United States. Reintroduction of the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act and the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act are great examples of the growing support we see from governments, industry and society to end plastic waste in the environment. We look forward to working with Congress towards building a circular economy.” 

National Association of Manufacturers
“The National Association of Manufacturers commends you on reintroducing two bipartisan bills, the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023. These bills are important to achieve a better understanding of current recycling rates, accessibility of recycling infrastructure and solid waste collection in disadvantaged communities. Additionally, these proposals are helpful tools that can bolster the circular economy and increase recycling in communities across the United States.” 

National Waste and Recycling Association
“The National Waste and Recycling Association applauds Senators Carper, Capito and Boozman for reintroducing these bipartisan bills to improve rural recycling accessibility and data collection for recycling and composting. The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act are both integral to advancing America’s domestic recycling infrastructure and capabilities. We look forward to supporting this legislation again.”

“We believe the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act is a crucial step in the right direction for recycling. [The bill] will enable informed decision-making on recycling programs that improve consumer recycling rates, create jobs and support sustainable aluminum manufacturing.”

Paper Recycling Coalition (PRC)
“These bills would, among other things, establish essential baseline data on recycling in the United States, study the amount of recyclable material that is being diverted to incinerators and landfills, and provide funding to communities to improve recycling access. The PRC believes the RCAA will fill an important gap that is currently lacking in federal recycling policy discussions: data, especially as it relates to recycling rates, material recovery facilities, federal recycled product procurement, and the diversion of recyclable materials to energy uses.”

Plastics Industry Association
“We need to recycle more, period, and these bipartisan bills will help us achieve that goal. Improving the country’s recycling infrastructure is paramount to increasing our recycling rates for all materials and ensures we keep waste in the circular economy and out of landfills.”

“As the leading adventure lifestyle company, with many of our outdoor recreation businesses located in rural areas across the U.S., we applaud the Senate for passing legislation that advances improved recycling and composting programs. Strong policy solutions are critical to augment our efforts on the ground with a goal of ensuring strong recycling infrastructure that supports resilient communities where we live, work, and play.”

Recycling Infrastructure Now Coalition
“The Recycling Infrastructure Now (RIN) Coalition strongly supports these important measures that will help ensure underserved rural communities have access to critical recycling infrastructure. They will also help generate critical data needed to expand recycling where it is needed most. The RIN Coalition strongly supported these measures in the previous Congress and will work with our stakeholders to help advance them in the 118th Congress.”

Sustainable Food Policy Alliance
“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023 sponsored by Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), and John Boozman (R-AR) represent a bipartisan approach to improving American recycling infrastructure. Both bills stand to make a measurable difference in our recycling system through activities like increasing and improving recycling data collection and authorizing a new pilot program at the Environmental Protection Agency to boost recycling services in underserved areas.”

Tetra Pak
“We at Tetra Pak understand the necessity to create federal standards for recycling, provide federal investment in recycling infrastructure, and incentivize domestic end markets for recycled material. Both bills are primarily aligned with what is necessary to realize these three objectives, and for that reason, we are pleased to offer our support. We can only recycle what is collected in our communities.” 

The Recycling Partnership

“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure Accessibility Act invest in local communities and build on efforts to ensure our national recycling infrastructure is more accessible and accountable. A recent report from The Recycling Partnership shows that every year, 79% of America’s recyclables are lost to landfills. These are valuable materials that can be reused and fortify our domestic supply chains. The Recycling Partnership is proud to support both bills, which are an important step in advancing a strong, resilient, and circular American economy.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
“The Senate passed these bipartisan bills by unanimous consent in 2022, representing consensus support for meaningful incremental progress on this important issue. Both the Senate and House of Representatives now have the opportunity to advance these bills to promote policies to catalyze the circular economy, and which build on the recycling provisions contained in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and EPA’s National Recycling Strategy.”

U.S. Composting Council
“In order to grow composting infrastructure in the US we need to know what the metrics are on current facility capacities and throughput. There’s a need to have state data uniformly reported annually at the same time and then aggregated. This would give us a better picture on where to concentrate funding and deliver a better return on public and private investments.”

World Wildlife Fund
“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023 will expand access to recycling infrastructure and help us better understand recycling and composting activities across the United States. Congress should advance these bills as important steps toward achieving a future where plastic no longer enters nature.”