WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, yesterday led a hearing to consider how federal programs support local waste management efforts to achieve a circular economy.

HIGHLIGHTS:

ON HOW RECYCLING PROMOTES A CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE:

Chairman Carper:

“Reusing and recycling products not only helps keep our communities cleaner, but it’s an essential part of the solution to a series of crises facing our planet. These include escalating climate change, overflowing landfills and alarming amounts of plastic choking our oceans. For example, recycling can reduce energy consumption. Producing aluminum products from recycled materials uses … 95 percent less energy than creating them from first-use materials. And, it’s not just aluminum. Many goods, like paper and glass, are more energy-efficient to produce from recycled materials. With more energy-efficient processes, manufacturers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

ON HOW FEDERAL RECYCLING PROGRAMS CREATE JOBS AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY:

Chairman Carper:

“Reducing waste from the products we use has significant economic benefits. For example, in 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Recycling Economic Information Report estimated that recycling and reuse activities support approximately … 681,000 domestic jobs … For comparison’s sake, that’s more jobs than the entire workforce of the state of Rhode Island!”

ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, STATES, COMMUNITIES AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS WORKING TOGETHER TO ACHIEVE A CIRCULAR ECONOMY:

Cody Marshall, Chief System Optimization Officer, The Recycling Partnership:

“Last year we had the privilege of working with the City of New Orleans to assist in developing their proposal for [Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling] SWIFR funding. I’m happy to report that because of this funding the city will offer curbside recycling service to all 150,000 single-family homes. Not only will this deliver real results, the SWIFR funding unlocked additional funding from the Partnership, which was made possible from private-sector dollars. The public-private partnership will ensure the SWIFR funding is an enduring investment.”

ON THE CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR BIPARTISAN RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING LEGISLATION:

Susan Fife-Ferris, Director, Solid Waste Planning & Program Management, Seattle Public Utilities:

“We support passage of the Chairman's legislation — Recycling and Compost[ing] Accountability Act. It's a great start for providing the support needed for data collection and analysis nationwide. The Ranking Member's legislation — Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act — would also be an important step forward to help increase collection of recyclables by making recycling more convenient and accessible. Many communities throughout the country don't have access to basic recycling, resulting in valuable materials going into a landfill.”

Cody Marshall:

“Thank you Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito for introducing two critical pieces of legislation — the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act. Both bills when passed will provide important data and resources needed to ensure our domestic recycling systems deliver on the promise of a circular economy.”

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s round of questions.

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s opening statement.

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