U.S. Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) have introduced the bipartisan Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Values of Expanding Recycling Act, also known as RECOVER.
The bill – H.R. 5115 – would allocate $500 million in federal grants to eligible states, municipalities and tribal governments to invest in improving their recycling infrastructure, programs and education efforts.
“This bipartisan, commonsense bill is a smart solution to a growing problem,” Cárdenas said. “The RECOVER Act encourages local and state governments to invest in recycling programs and new technologies to increase collection rates. Through public-private partnerships and a new grants program, we will help communities across the nation with the creation and modernization of their recycling infrastructure. This bill would create new jobs, boost our economy and ultimately, it is good for American families and the environment.”
In addition to establishing a $550 million grants program to support and expand the recycling programs and infrastructure, the RECOVER Act would require the EPA to submit a report to Congress no later than two years after the date of enactment of this legislation. Moreover, the bill precludes the use of EPA funds for incineration.
“As the father of four kids, it is important to me to leave future generations with a cleaner environment than the one we inherited from our parents and grandparents,” Bucshon said. “One of the ways that we have been successful in cleaning up our nation’s environment is by encouraging greater numbers of Americans to recycle waste items instead of discarding them in landfills. Our nation is facing a recycling crisis due to inadequate infrastructure and the inability to keep up with waste stream contamination. Without the proper recycling infrastructure in place, we will not have the capacity needed to recycle waste items and they will either end up in a landfill, our oceans, or elsewhere in the environment as litter.”
In 2017, China passed a policy banning plastic waste from being imported, effective January 2018. In the U.S., approximately 26.7 million tons of plastic recyclables were sent out of the country between 1988 and 2016. A 2018 study published in the Scientific Advances estimates that by 2030, the ban might displace 111 million metric tons of plastic. Much of the waste ends up in landfills, is incinerated or sent to other countries due to the lack of infrastructure to properly manage it, the bill’s authors said. For information, visit cardenas.house.gov.
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