WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and Co-Chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, along with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the EPW Committee, and John Boozman (R-Ark.), Co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus and member of the EPW Committee, introduced two pieces of legislation today focused on improving our nation’s recycling and composting systems.

The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act would require the EPA to collect, and make publically available, data on recycling and composting rates across the country, while the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act would establish a pilot rural recycling program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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,” Chairman Carper said. “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. To address this growing problem, I’m pleased to introduce a pair of bipartisan bills with Senators Capito and Boozman that would help strengthen our nation’s recycling and composting efforts. 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. These commonsense solutions will move us closer to creating a more sustainable, circular economy and leaving behind a livable planet for future generations, which we all want.”

“West Virginia has the lowest recycling rate in the country—only 2%,” Ranking Member Capito said. “This isn’t for lack of interest, but rather lack of funding and inadequate access to facilities.  With more sparse populations over greater areas of land, rural communities struggle to sustain proper recycling programs. This bill works to alleviate this issue and make it more financially feasible to establish recycling infrastructure in underserved areas.”

“Recycling helps reduce waste heading to landfills while also creating jobs and driving innovation. These initiatives expand opportunities to families and businesses in rural, underserved areas so they can play an active role in preserving our resources and improve our nation’s recycling and composting capabilities. I’m pleased to support these legislative efforts so we can leverage the economic and environmental benefits of recycling,” Senator Boozman, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, said.


The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act would improve data collection on our nation’s 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 performance both nationwide and at the state level. This information is critical to improving existing recycling and composting programs and evaluating future recycling policies.

Bill text is available here.


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 for improving recycling accessibility in a community or communities within the same geographic area. The goal of the program is to fund eligible projects that would significantly improve access to recycling systems in underserved communities through the use of a hub-and-spoke model for recycling infrastructure development.

Bill text is available here and a one-pager is available here.