The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a draft National Recycling Strategy and is seeking public comments through December 4. 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. The agency is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, October 27 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time for those considering submitting public comments. The webinar will provide participants an overview of the draft National Recycling Strategy, and key questions EPA hopes commenters will answer. Click here to register.
The draft National Recycling Strategy aims to address the challenges facing the U.S. recycling system, 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:
- Reduce contamination in the recycling stream
- Increase processing efficiency
- Improve markets
The National Recycling Strategy, when finalized, will be aligned with and support implementation of the national recycling goals, which EPA intends to announce in November 2020.
County governments play an essential role in the nation’s recycling systems, as local governments are the primary provider of waste management services across the country. Counties have the authority and responsibility to undertake solid waste management activities, such as operating waste facilities, recycling centers, residential and commercial waste collection, landfills, combustors and transfer stations. On February 5, 2020, NACo testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies during a hearing on the opportunities and challenges for improving community recycling programs.