Widespread Praise for Portman’s Bipartisan, Bicameral RECYCLE Act to Improve Nation’s Recycling Programs

April 6, 2021 | Portman Difference

Recycling stakeholders and business leaders from Ohio and around the country have announced their support for Senator Portman’s bipartisan RECYCLE Act, which would create a new federal grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help educate households and consumers about their residential and community recycling programs.

According to the EPA, the recycling rate in the U.S. is 32.1 percent, which presents an opportunity to improve our nation’s recycling systems. Recycling offers numerous benefits, including diverting materials from landfills, using less energy to reprocess recycled material, which reduces emissions, and supporting the economy. EPA’s 2020 Recycling Economic Information (REI) Report found that recycling supports more than 681,000 jobs and generates $5.5 billion annually in tax revenues.

Reports indicate consumer confusion on how to properly recycle is one of the top recycling challenges. Through education and outreach, the RECYCLE Act will help increase recycling rates and reduce contamination in the recycling stream.

Supporters had the following to say about Portman’s bipartisan, bicameral recycling legislation:

“Educating consumers about what is considered recyclable and accepted by their residential and community recycling programs is one important step in decreasing contamination and improving recycling rates. We applaud Senators Portman and Stabenow and Representatives Joyce and Phillips for their bi-partisan initiative to provide funding for these efforts through the RECYCLE Act and we look forward to working with them and others to increase packaging recycling and recovery throughout the U.S.” – Dan Felton, Executive Director, American Institute for Packaging and the Environment (AMERIPEN)

The American Forest & Paper Association applauds the work of Senators Portman and Stabenow, and Representatives Joyce and Phillips, who are working hard to engage on bipartisan solutions, and is eager to move this bill forward into law. Providing grants to fund recycling education programs is a necessary step to help ensure consumers can successfully contribute to paper recycling’s success story. Our industry is also contributing to a more circular and sustainable future, with more than $4.1 billion in manufacturing infrastructure investments, planned or announced from 2019-2023, to continue the best use of recovered fiber in manufacturing our products.” – Heidi Brock, President and CEO, American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)

“The Pulp and Paperworkers’ Resource Council represents the men and women of the forest products industry who are committed to the continued successful paper recycling track record. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more paper by weight is recovered for recycling from municipal solid waste streams than metals, plastics, and glass combined. We look forward to working alongside Senators Portman and Stabenow and Representatives Joyce and Phillips to move the RECYCLE Act into law. Supporting public education for U.S. recycling will ultimately help Americans recycle more paper, contributing to the circular economy.” – David Wise, National Steering Committee Chairman, Pulp and Paperworkers’ Resource Council (PPRC)

“The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) supports consumer education about the importance of recycling metal containers and keeping them out of landfills. The RECYCLE Act, sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Dean Phillips (D-MN), requiring government grants to improve the effectiveness of residential and community recycling programs through public education and outreach, will ensure more of the nearly50 billion aluminum beverage cans going to landfill each year end up in the recycling system instead. Those cans being recycled instead would generate an additional $810 million each year, providing much needed revenue for the recycling system as a whole. The environmental impact is also profound. If we recycled every can in the United States, we could save more than 5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, the equivalent of taking more than 1 million vehicles off the road.  While the beverage can’s recycling rate is significantly better than other beverage containers, it is time for all of us to do more to keep cans in circulation … not in landfills. The RECYCLE Act will keep more metal cans out of the landfill, ensuring more aluminum and steel can be recycled forever.” – The Can Manufacturers Institute

“The RECYCLE Act is great legislation because it will help educate the public about a wide range of recyclable materials they come in contact with every day, rather than just a narrow band of the waste stream. The CDRA feels that knowledge will help spur recycling rates by providing the information Americans need to properly determine the basics, such as what can and cannot be recycled, and how to handle the recyclables.” – William Turley, Executive Director, Construction & Demolition Recycling Association

“The glass container industry welcomes the reintroduction of the RECYCLE Act, a key legislation aimed at reducing contamination in the residential curbside recycling stream. GPI and its members continuously work to educate policymakers, stakeholders and consumers on the energy and environmental benefits that recycled glass use provides to glass container manufacturers. Through educational efforts and cleaner streams of recyclables, the RECYCLE Act will provide higher quality glass, suitable for re-use in the manufacturing process.” – Scott DeFife, President of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI)

“As a leading U.S. recycler, International Paper commends Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Dean Phillips (D-MN) for reintroducing the RECYCLE Act, which supports manufacturers that take recovered materials and turns them into renewable products supporting a circular economy. Congressional efforts to fund consumer education about what goes into the recycling bin is a strong market-based approach to improving the quality of recovered materials.” – Chris Keuleman, Vice President, Global Government Relations for International Paper

“ISRI is pleased with the introduction of the RECYCLE Act, a bi-partisan, bi-cameral solution that provides public awareness, education and much needed clarity for residential recycling programs in the United States. Studies show Americans want to recycle . . . and more importantly . . . recycle right. The RECYCLE Act will help significantly reduce the contamination often found in residential recycling and as a result, help build sustainable markets for these valuable materials. Recycling is a sustainable climate solution, conserving energy and natural resources for a resilient future.” – Billy Johnson, Chief Lobbyist, Institute of Scrap Recycling

“The legislative history on recycling has been an “if you build it, they will come” philosophy - focused primarily on creating supply by establishing ambitious recycling goals without adequate consideration of end markets. The RECYCLE Act addresses these shortcomings by requiring routine review of federal procurement of how products with recycled content are acquired. Further, the RECYCLE Act aims to address a significant challenge for recyclers everywhere – education and outreach. Recycling education and outreach ensures that consumers are aware of their recycling options and will be able to do it properly, thus reducing contamination in the stream.” – Darrell K. Smith, President & CEO, National Waste & Recycling Association

“Educating communities on how to properly recycle and helping them understand the role of recycling in a circular economy, and the part that it plays in protecting our natural resources, is key if we want to safeguard our environment and wildlife. We thank Senators Portman and Stabenow for their leadership. This type of common-sense, bipartisan legislation is a step in the right direction to reduce pollution.” – Kristy Jones, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Race to Zero Waste Manager

“The Paper Recycling Coalition applauds and fully supports the RECYCLE Act. This legislation will enhance nationwide recycling by providing important educational information that will increase residential collection rates and decrease contamination in residential recycling streams.” – Terese Colling, President, Paper Recycling Coalition

“At Owens Corning, sustainability is at the heart of our business, from the products we make to the way we make them. Improving recycling rates is central to sustainability and we commend Senators Portman and Stabenow for reintroducing The RECYCLE Act. This bipartisan legislation will help accelerate progress towards a circular economy, and given the connection to reduced carbon emissions, this is an increasingly important and practical initiative for addressing climate change.” – Frank O’Brien-Bernini, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Owens Corning

“Every American plays an important role in making sure that recycling remains environmentally and economically sustainable. The RECYCLE Act supports those efforts by investing in education and outreach programs that are proven to reduce contamination in the recycling stream and increase the recycling rate. The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), the largest waste and recycling association in the United States, applauds this bipartisan legislation that will help to secure and expand community recycling programs.” – David Biderman, Executive Director & CEO, Solid Waste Association of North America

“PLASTICS would like to thank Senators Rob Portman and Debbie Stabenow and all the cosponsors for reintroducing the RECYCLE Act. Improving our nation’s recycling system starts with empowering everyone through more information and a better understanding of how best to participate. Reducing contamination in the recycling stream through engaged and informed consumers is a vital part of getting recycling rates to levels we all want. We look forward to strongly advocating in support of this and other important recycling legislation this Congress.” – Tony Radoszewski, President & CEO, Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)

“The Bipartisan RECYCLE Act will provide significant awareness of the importance of recycling and sustainability and the need for a collective effort to achieve greater reduction of waste.” – Steve Joseph, CEO, Reserve Management Group

A full list of those who have announced their support include: Advanced Drainage Systems, American Beverage Association, American Chemistry Council, American Forest & Paper Association, AMERIPEN, Can Manufacturers Institute, Construction and Demolition Recycling Association, Consumer Brands Association, Evangelical Environmental Network, Glass Packaging Institute, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, International Paper Company, National Association of Manufacturers, National Waste & Recycling Association, National Wildlife Federation, Owens Corning, Owens-Illinois, Paper Recycling Coalition, Plastics Industry Association, Procter & Gamble, Pulp & Paperworks’ Resource Council, Reserve Management Group, Solid Waste Association of North America, The Association of Plastic Recyclers, The Recycling Partnership, U.S. Conference of Mayors, United Steelworkers, Wildlife Conservation Society, Yum! Brands, McDonald’s Corporation.