Technological watch

Senate Hearing on Recycling Finds Consensus, Identifies Areas to Improve

WASHINGTON, DC (February 2, 2022) – Today the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on improving and expanding domestic recycling. The following statement may be attributed to Joshua Baca, American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) vice president of plastics:

“ACC appreciates the continued work by Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Capito, Senator Boozman and members of the committee to accelerate a circular economy, improve recycling across the country, and engage recycling advocates. Improving and expanding domestic recycling requires an “all of the-above" strategy that leverages many of the ideas and policies discussed at today’s hearing on two important legislative draft proposals.

“Increasing recycling access and rates, and collecting better data is a bipartisan issue, and America’s plastic makers are ready to partner in providing sustainable solutions. In 2021 we released 5 Actions for Sustainable Change, which sets forth concrete steps for the industry and Congress to adopt that will accelerate a circular economy for plastics. In today’s committee hearing, there was significant alignment between what plastics makers, the Senate, and the witnesses all want to accomplish.

“Specifically, access to recycling, particularly in rural areas, must be improved. We believe a producer responsibility system is essential to build out the necessary recycling infrastructure. That infrastructure must be modernized by expanding mechanical recycling and leveraging the proven technologies of advanced recycling. Advanced recycling projects announced in the United States have the potential to recover nearly 11 billion pounds of hard-to-recycle plastics and remake them into new plastics. This will help keep plastics out of landfills and meet the growing market demand for recycled plastics as well as EPA’s goal to grow the U.S. recycling rate to 50% by 2030.

“The industry also supports creating national recycling standards to better harmonize the approximately 9,000 recycling jurisdictions across the country, so people in Arkansas, Delaware, West Virginia and other states all have one understandable minimum set of recycling criteria. Standards also would ensure that data collection and reporting procedures across the country are consistent. Lastly, plastic makers have asked Congress to require all plastic packaging to contain at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030 and hold companies accountable.

“From reducing food waste through efficient, lightweight packaging to enabling wind and solar energy technologies, plastics are an essential material for achieving a lower carbon future. We will continue to work with Congress and other stakeholders to expand recycling and improve the sustainability of plastics.”  

Publication date: 31/01/2022

American Plastics Council

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31