Washington — Two members of Congress and a coalition of businesses and trade groups in plastics, waste management and other materials unveiled a $500 million legislative plan Nov. 15 that would allocate federal funding to beef up recycling and waste management.
The Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Values of Expanding Recycling Act, or Recover Act, would set aside $500 million in federal matching funds for states, local governments and tribes to invest in improving recycling infrastructure. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., and Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind.
"Today, our nation is facing a recycling crisis due to inadequate infrastructure and the inability to keep up with waste stream contamination," Bucshon said in a statement. "Without the proper recycling infrastructure in place, we will not have the capacity to recycle waste items and they will either end up in a landfill, our oceans or elsewhere in the environment as litter."
The legislation is supported by the Plastics Industry Association, the American Chemistry Council and the Vinyl Institute, in addition to plastics companies Berry Global, Kenrich Petrochemicals and Erema. As well, industry associations in the flexible packaging, glass and solid waste sectors have signed on, along with PepsiCo. Inc. and Unilever plc.
"This bipartisan bill will help address the infrastructure shortcomings that can contribute to recyclable materials ending up in our oceans and waterways, and we look forward to working with representatives to move it forward," said Tony Radoszewski, president and CEO of the Washington-based Plastics Industry Association.
A statement from Cárdenas said that in addition to the $500 million, the legislation requires the Environmental Protection Agency to submit a report within two years of its passage on steps taken to implement it. The bill would also preclude using EPA funds to support incineration, Cárdenas said.