CSAC Bulletin Article

Draft National Recycling Strategy Released—Comments Requested by U.S. EPA

October 29, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a National Recycling Strategy and Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System. According to EPA, the draft National Recycling Strategy identifies strategic objectives and actions needed to create a stronger, more resilient, and cost-effective U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system. Recycling has been a critical component of the EPA’s decades-long efforts to implement the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and its more recent efforts to pursue a Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) approach, which aims to reduce the environmental impacts of materials across their lifecycle.

The U.S. recycling system currently faces a number of challenges, including: confusion about what materials can be recycled, recycling infrastructure that has not kept pace with today’s diverse and changing waste stream, reduced markets for recycled materials, and varying methodologies to measure recycling system performance. The draft strategy identifies actions to address these challenges that build on the collaborative efforts by stakeholders from across the recycling system that began under the National Framework, which are organized under three strategic objectives: (1) reduce contamination in the recycling stream; (2) increase processing efficiency; and, (3) improve markets.

CSAC and our other local partners will be reviewing the strategy over the next month and encourages comments to the federal docket.  EPA is currently accepting comments on the draft National Recycling Strategy through December 4, 2020 in the federal docket. To leave a comment, go to regulations.gov and search for the docket EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0462. CSAC will also be collecting comments during November. Please email suggested comments to cfreeman@counties.org by November 20, 2020. 

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