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August 18, 2021


Recycling Is Infrastructure Too

The NRC, in collaboration with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Zero Waste USA, is urging members and colleagues to join us in building support for the Recycling Is Infrastructure Too Campaign (RIIT). The Campaign’s American Recycling Infrastructure Plan provides key recommendations on Infrastructure bills pending now on Capitol Hill. The great news is that significant recycling support is included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate approved on August 10. As collaboration increases, additional details are being added to the American Recycling Infrastructure Plan, and support of Congressional Representatives is being sought.

Join your colleagues and contact your

US Congressional Representatives now during the August 2021 recess!

Here is how you can help move this law forward now:
If you have questions about this Campaign, please contact us at: [email protected]

The American Recycling Infrastructure Plan proposes to

  • Advance reduce and reuse initiatives
  • Invest in new and modernize existing material recovery facilities
  • Invest in composting infrastructure
  • Adopt a national extended producer responsibility framework for difficult-to-recycle items
  • Stop subsidies for “chemical” or “advanced” recycling that burn up resources
  • Advocate for waste prevention policies and programs
  • Encourage reuse systems and use of recycled content and compost products in all federal infrastructure projects
  • Improve disaster debris recovery operations
  • Cease subsidizing virgin plastics production
  • Eliminate federal subsidies to fossil fuel industries that fuel the climate crisis
  • Expand tax deductions for food donations by businesses
  • Much, much more...

View the Full ARIP Document

Representatives Want to Hear From You!

Ask your representative to:
  • Support Recycling Is Infrastructure Too!
  • Support the American Recycling Infrastructure Plan
  • Support the use of reuse systems, recycled content and compost products in ALL infrastructure projects as eligible activities (e.g. compost for highway and building landscaping and mine reclamation).
  • Schedule a personal meeting between a few of your group members and your Congressional Representative or aides (preferred approach when possible)

Why Calling Congress Works!

  • If you support their stance…You need to let your congressperson know!
  • When they talk to colleagues, they use call tallies and personal stories from constituents to better support their positions.
  • If you oppose or don’t know their stance…Calling is the easiest way to sway them! Your congressperson gets regular call tally reports, letting them know how strongly their constituents feel about an issue.
  • Email campaign information to aides (as a backup, not the only means of contact)

Why Does it Matter?

The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) is joining forces with reuse, recycling, composting and environmental leaders across the US in a first-ever opportunity to rally support for building an American Circular Economy to sustainably manage materials for the 21st Century. This is a future that is not only possible, but vital to stabilizing climate chaos, rebuilding a just and equitable American economy and ensuring a livable future

According to the Washington Post on August 9, 2021, “the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment has laid before the world… that there is no remaining scientific doubt that humans are fueling climate change. That much is ‘unequivocal.’ The only real uncertainty that remains, its authors say, is whether the world can muster the will to stave off a darker future than the one it already has carved in stone…”

Approximately 50 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States come from production, distribution of products, packaging and food. Reducing, reusing, recycling and composting those materials and products could dramatically reduce GHGs. As a result, more recycling means more climate protection too!

Waste Dive on August 11, 2021, reported the Senate passed an infrastructure bill, including key recycling provisions, noting that the U.S. Senate passage of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (INVEST Act). Key recycling-related provisions included are the text of the RECYCLE Act, which includes $75 million for recycling education, up to $3 billion in funding for battery recycling programs and research, and $275 million for the Save Our Seas 2.0 grant funding cycle.

The RECYCLE Act provisions also direct the U.S. EPA to develop a toolkit for reducing contamination and increasing recycling participation, and to more frequently review and revise the EPA’s comprehensive procurement guidelines.

The battery recycling programs would be funded by up to $3 billion total between fiscal years 2022 and 2026, for manufacturing and recycling grant programs, plus $60 million more for battery recycling research, development and demonstration grants to create “innovative and practical approaches to increase the reuse and recycling of batteries.” An additional $50 million would go to state and local entities to establish battery recycling programs and $15 million to retailers that collect batteries for recycling. The bill also calls for EV batteries to be reused for “second-life applications” such as electric grid energy storage or other uses, proposes a task force to develop an extended producer responsibility framework for batteries and creates guidelines for voluntary battery labeling and best practices for battery recycling.

The Save Our Seas grants will go to reduce, remove and prevent plastic waste in the environment, especially waterways, through cleanup efforts and investments in plastic recycling infrastructure. The legislation needs to be approved by the House of Representatives next. The INVEST Act is the infrastructure bill backed by President Joe Biden and negotiated by bipartisan lawmakers.
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