WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the EPW Committee (EPW), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the EPW Committee, and John Boozman (R-Ark.), also a member of the EPW Committee, this week led the EPW Committee in advancing two bipartisan bills to improve our nation’s recycling and composting systems by a voice vote.

Last week, Capito, Carper, and Boozman introduced both pieces of legislation, the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023, which would create a pilot program to increase access to recycling services in underserved areas, such as rural communities in West Virginia, and the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act, which would improve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to gather data on our nation’s recycling systems and explore opportunities for implementing a national composting strategy.

“The EPW Committee took an important step in making it easier for more people to recycle, especially in rural states like West Virginia, which is good for the environment and our economy,” Ranking Member Capito said. “These bills would implement commonsense policies and programs to improve access to recycling across the country, and create good-paying jobs in our communities. EPW continues to make progress on bipartisan solutions on a range of issues, and I appreciate Chairman Carper, Senator Boozman, and the whole committee for once again working together as we lay the foundation for increased recycling and composting in the future.”

“The EPW Committee continues to lead the way in advancing bipartisan recycling solutions that are good for our environment and good for our economy,” Chairman Carper said. “Our bipartisan legislation would help address several of the challenges facing our nation’s recycling and composting efforts, like improving access to these services and the availability of sound data. I commend Ranking Member Capito, Senator Boozman, and our EPW colleagues for their support, and I look forward to building on this momentum as we work to bring these bills to the full Senate soon.”

“These legislative initiatives will help preserve our resources and improve our nation’s recycling and composting capabilities. I’m pleased EPW Committee members unanimously advanced these efforts so we can leverage the economic and environmental benefits of recycling. I’ll continue working with Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito to pass this legislation on the Senate floor and encourage our House colleagues to follow our lead and send these bills to the president’s desk to be signed into law,” Senator Boozman, a co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, said.

Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s floor speech on the bills.

Here’s what a range of business organizations, industry stakeholders, and environmental advocates are saying about the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act:

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.” – Charles Johnson, President and CEO

American Beverage Association
“The Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023 represent positive steps towards achieving a circular economy for recyclable materials. We support both bipartisan measures and look forward to continuing our work with the Committee on Environment and Public Works to build effective policies that achieve circularity for our beverage containers.”

American Chemistry Council
“The American Chemistry Council commends the sponsors’ ongoing dedication to necessary improvements in recycling and advancing policies that promote circularity. Improving data collection across the nation is a critical and necessary step to measure progress, identify gaps in the recycling system, and promote collaborations to recycle more material. America’s plastic makers will continue to work with Congress and all stakeholders to expand recycling and build on the sustainability of plastics.” – Joshua Baca, Vice President, Plastics

American Forest and Paper Association
“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 Robotics
“AMP Robotics 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 Robotics fully subscribes to one of the principal goals of this legislation: improving the reporting of data collected at materials recovery facilities (MRF). 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.” – Chris Wirth, Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Association of Plastic Recyclers
“The data is clear: Americans want to recycle more. As the voice of plastic recycling, the Association of Plastic Recyclers 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 reduce greenhouse gas emissions, limit plastic waste, and build a more resilient, domestic supply chain for products made from recycled materials. When we recycle more, we can all use less.” – Kate Bailey, Chief Policy Officer

“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 is critical to achieving these goals, which is why BASF supports Senators Carper, Capito, and Boozman’s bipartisan legislation that seeks to fill much needed information gaps. Only when we have the full picture of our communities’ capabilities can we work to effectively strengthen recycling and composting infrastructure, help our communities thrive, and sustainably protect the environment.” – Catherine Trinkle, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Regulatory, Environmental & Government Affairs

Biodegradable Products Institute
"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 (CMI) 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.” – Mike Smaha, Vice President of Government Relations

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 and Capito’s recycling bills considered by the committee today 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.”

“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.” – Tracey Campbell, Executive Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs

National Association of Manufacturers
“The National Association of Manufacturers commends you on reintroducing two bipartisan bills, the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act (RCAA) and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2023 (RIAA). 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.” – Darrell Smith, President and CEO

“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
“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 (MRFs), 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.” – Matt Seaholm, President and CEO

“As the leading adventure lifestyle company, with many of our outdoor recreation businesses located in rural areas across the U.S., we’re strongly supportive of the Congress’ effort to improve recycling and composting programs. While we regularly partner with neighboring communities on recycling infrastructure, having the aid of the federal government to help reduce waste and develop a more holistic recycling strategy would be welcome.” – Justin Sibley, CEO

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.” – Eric Harris, Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the United States and Canada

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
“Once again we are glad to see a bipartisan bill around federal planning and data collection for composting and recycling. We have to know where we are to be most effective in planning where we’re going, and this bill can get us there.” – Frank Franciosi, Executive Director

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.” – Alejandro Pérez, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs

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