Widespread Praise for Portman’s Bipartisan RECYCLE Act

November 25, 2019 | Portman Difference

Recycling groups, key business leaders, and national recycling stakeholders have announced their widespread support for Senator Portman’s new bipartisan legislation – the RECYCLE Act – to 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. This legislation will help increase recycling rates and reduce contamination in the recycling stream. Here’s what they are saying about Portman’s bipartisan recycling legislation:  

“The RECYCLE Act provides timely and necessary support for public education and outreach to communities struggling to improve their residential recycling programs,” said David Biderman, Executive Director & CEO, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). “For recycling to remain sustainable in the United States, the public needs to better understand its important role in reducing contamination and increasing valuable materials in the recycling bin. Congressional action would send a powerful message that the federal government prioritizes recycling.”

“NWRA welcomes this bipartisan legislation as our industry works to address the challenges it faces from the loss of China as a market for recyclable commodities,” said National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) President and CEO Darrell Smith. “We are pleased that the RECYCLE Act recognizes the important roles that non-proft organizations as well as public-private partnerships can play in increasing collection rates and decreasing contamination in residential recycling programs.”

“We know that consumer confusion over what is and is not recyclable is one of the top reasons why trash still ends up in recycling bins, and valuable recyclables end up in the trash. When residents recycle correctly, those materials are kept out of the landfill, decreasing greenhouse gases and also the need to create more products out of virgin materials,” said Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. ”That is why The Recycling Partnership supports the RECYCLE Act and we commend Senator Portman for his leadership on this very important issue.”

“O-I is thrilled to see bi-partisan legislation that will have an important impact on reducing waste and increasing the availability of recyclable materials, like glass,” said Randolph Burns, O-I’s Global VP of Government Affairs. “We are a global company and can see that other countries are much further ahead than the U.S. in terms of recycling behavior. Europe has had tremendous success, so we know it’s possible. To change consumer habits we must start with education. This legislation provides a needed jolt of energy to jump-start action and momentum,”

“The Paper Recycling Coalition applauds Senator Portman’s commitment to recycling and we fully support the RECYCLE Act, which will enhance the nation’s recycling record by providing targeted federal assistance to help local communities improve the effectiveness of residential recycling programs through public education and outreach,” said Brian McPheely, Chairman Paper Recycling Coalition and Global CEO of Pratt Industries Inc.

“I applaud the efforts of Senator Portman and his team to understand the realities of the U.S. recycling industry,” said Stephanie Baker, Director of Market Development for KW Plastic. “Our nation needs sustainable solutions to improved recycling infrastructure and innovation. I believe we finally have a piece of federal legislation that points to a pragmatic approach that incentivized investments and partnerships that can make significant impact on both our environment and our economy.”

“The Wildlife Conservation Society commends Senators Rob Portman and Debbie Stabenow for their leadership in introducing the Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act of 2019 to raise awareness about recycling waste and reducing plastic pollution which often ends up in the oceans.  Single-use plastic is a significant threat to sea turtles, whales, fish, birds and other wildlife.  The legislation introduced in the Senate strengthens waste management at the source through greater public awareness, which in turn will reduce the amount of plastic that reaches our oceans,” said John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society.  

“Our recycling infrastructure is in crisis and the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry commends the attention recycling is now getting in Congress,” said Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “This industry is continuously innovating its packaging, making it more recyclable every day — but that recyclable packaging has increasingly fewer places to go as more cities and counties retreat from recycling programs.” 

”The American Chemistry Council and our members strongly support the RECYCLE Act and commend Senators Portman and Stabenow for introducing this legislation, which will improve the effectiveness of residential and community recycling programs through increased public education and outreach,” said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. “At present, studies show that about 25 percent of recyclable materials are lost due to a lack of knowledge about what should and shouldn’t be placed in recycling bins. By promoting education and best practices, the RECYCLE Act will improve both the quality and quantity of materials collected for recycling.”


We applaud Senator Portman for his efforts to care for creation and improve recycling around the nation,” said Rev. Mitch Hescox, President and CEO of The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). “The education and outreach supported by the RECYCLE Act will help communities to steward their resources, create jobs, and reduce plastic pollution. We urge other leaders in Congress to support this important bill.”

“There are a number of legislative efforts being put forth in Congress to tackle the current challenges we are seeing in the nation’s residential recycling system,” said Robin Wiener, president of Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). “The focus is to improve the quality of the residential recycling stream and provide incentives for greater market demand for recyclables. The RECYCLE Act will help accomplish both goals. Through the consumer recycling education and outreach grant program we hope to see improvements in the quality of the material entering the stream. And with a stronger procurement process, the federal government is in a position to help drive demand for recyclable materials. Recycling paves the way for the future of our planet. These efforts are proof that recycling is indeed worth it.” 

“The RECYCLE Act will educate consumers on the right ways to recycle and is one of the best ways we can increase the quantity and quality of paper in the recycling stream,” said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). “We are thankful for the collaborative work Senators Portman, Stabenow, Collins, Young and Wyden have undertaken to engage stakeholders on this important legislation and are eager to work with all parties to move this bill forward. Our industry has achieved record-setting paper recovery rates for recycling, but we also recognize the U.S. recycling system is faced with challenges that begin at the bin. Providing grants to fund recycling education programs is a positive step in working to dispel recycling myths, discourage ‘wishcycling’ and arm consumers with the resources they need to contribute to a U.S. recycling success story.”

“Sen. Portman’s and Sen. Stabenow’s leadership in the senate to tackle recycling and recovery efforts in the U.S. is crucial,” said Tony Radoszewski, President & CEO Plastics Industry Association. “Recycling is essential to ensure plastics and other materials do not end up where they do not belong—grants for recycling education programs are critical in helping solve this issue.” 

“The legislative intent of Sen. Portman’s RECYCLE Act deals with one of the most critical components of the recycling stream-addressing the consumer confusion regarding what is or is not to be placed in the recycling bin,” commented Steve Alexander, President and CEO of the Association of Plastic Recyclers-The Voice of Plastics Recycling. “This bill will expand material available for recycling by ensuring more good material enters the stream. We are pleased to work with the Senator on this critical effort.” 

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