Portman, Stabenow RECYCLE Act Signed into Law as Part of Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

November 15, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced that their bipartisan RECYCLE Act was signed into law as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA recently passed the House in a vote of 228-206, having previously passed the Senate in August in a vote of 69-30. The RECYCLE Act authorizes a new federal grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help educate households and consumers about their residential and community recycling programs. The bipartisan infrastructure package also fully funds the RECYCLE Act at $15 million per year for five years.

Reports indicate consumer confusion on how to properly recycle is one of the top recycling challenges. According to the EPA, the recycling rate in the U.S. is 32.1 percent, which presents a significant opportunity to improve our nation’s recycling systems. Through education and outreach, the RECYCLE Act will help increase recycling rates and reduce contamination in the recycling stream. 

“I’m pleased that my RECYCLE Act, included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, was signed into law by the President. A key component of improving our domestic recycling systems is increasing consumer awareness about good recycling practices,” said Senator Portman. “Far too often, consumer confusion leads to poor recycling habits, which can damage recycling equipment and cause contamination in the recycling stream. This is a bipartisan, common-sense bill that’s good for the economy and the environment, and helps make our recycling infrastructure more durable.”

“One of the obstacles to strong neighborhood recycling programs is confusion by consumers about what can and can’t be recycled. This bill will address that confusion and help improve the sustainability and efficiency of recycling programs across the country,” said Senator Stabenow.

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.