WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, I – Vt., the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today convened a roundtable meeting with business leaders to discuss preserving and expanding the nation's recycling efforts. Due to shrinking supply and growing quality concerns, businesses that rely on recyclable materials increasingly are facing the prospect of switching to non-recycled material or shutting down. “Today’s discussions brought to the forefront that recycling is more than an environmental issue; it’s a business issue,” Jeffords said. “I am committed to moving forward with federal efforts to create sustainable economic incentives to encourage greater recycling.” The National Recycling Coalition estimates that there are over 56,000 public and private sector recycling facilities, generating 1.1 million jobs with a combined total of $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payroll. The shortage of usable recyclable materials is widespread and affects the plastic, glass, aluminum, steel and paper sectors. Yet, the U.S. recycling rate of these commodities continues to decline. For example, only one in five plastic bottles are recycled, forcing a shutdown of 17 percent of plastic reclaiming capacity between 2000 and 2002. In addition, Americans wasted roughly 820,000 tons of aluminum in 2004 by sending an estimated 129 billion bottles and cans to landfills.