Recent bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress would improve the effectiveness of recycling programs
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has endorsed two pieces of bipartisan federal legislation that aim to promote better recycling programs and reduce landfill waste: the Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act and the Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act.
“Bipartisanship is rare these days, and it’s encouraging to see legislators come together around an issue that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, care about deeply,” noted Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based GMA, which will become the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) in January 2020.
Sponsored by Reps. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., and Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., the RECOVER Act would provide monetary assistance via block grants at the local level to support and expand existing recycling infrastructure and programs. The RECYCLE Act, introduced by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would fund education and public awareness programs for residential recycling to help boost collection and decrease contamination.
According to recent research conducted by GMA, Americans want more leadership from the government in improving the country’s recycling system. Among the findings:
Nearly eight in 10 (77%) Americans believe that the federal government needs to take the lead in addressing packaging waste.
86% agree that the world is in the midst of a plastic and packaging crisis.
77% consider recycling a public service rather than a business.
93 percent believe that national recycling standards will alleviate confusion.
“Our recycling infrastructure is in crisis, and the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry commends the attention recycling is now getting in Congress,” added Freeman. “This industry is continuously innovating its packaging, making it more recyclable every day. Each of the top 25 CPG companies has made commitments to increasing recyclable content, minimizing packaging or reusing material — but that recyclable packaging has increasingly fewer places to go as more cities and counties retreat from recycling programs.”
Along with its support of legislation, GMA representatives have spoken out on the need to fix the recycling infrastructure. On Nov. 15, as part of America Recycles Day, Freeman joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and public- and private- sector leaders to discuss opportunities for partnership and collaboration in finding real-world, scalable recycling solutions. Further, GMA VP of Packaging and Sustainability Meghan Stasz delivered comments at the EPA Recycling Summit on the need for higher consumer awareness and clarity on recycling rules.