NRC Policy

Legislation & Regulation

RCRA Reauthorization Policy

  • Strong emphasis on market development for recyclable commodities.
  • High priority on the immediate development of national guidelines and standards for recycled  content, refill/reuse rates and source reduction standards.
  • Establish a national ban on yard waste being disposed of in landfills by the year 2000.
  • Recognizing that recycling rates do not address waste production, establish a national goal of reducing  waste production by 20% by the year 2000, with industrial materials reduced by at least 10% by the  year 2000.

Cross-reference: waste reduction standards; market development; procurement; design for recycling; product

Cost Effective Recycling Infrastructure

  • Steps should be taken to ensure  cost-effective design of systems, and for collection, processing and end-uses to grow in size together.
  • Incentives to increase the recycling rates should be structured to provide maximum benefit to those who  increase the amount of recycling in an area, rather than support existing activities.
  • Community-based recyclers and non-profit recyclers should be funded.


Degradable Plastics Use

  • The National Recycling Coalition opposes the proliferation of degradable plastics.
  • Calls for an immediate moratorium on the introduction and passage of legislation that would require or support the use of degradable plastics until issues of controversy have been resolved.
  • More research into the viability of degradable plastics.
  • Urges the federal government to establish  testing standards to verify the safety and performance of these products.


Landfill Tipping Fees

  • Local prices at landfills should be set at replacement costs or higher to encourage source reduction,  recycling and composting.
  • Expenses for public education, research and development, and regulatory costs should be factored into the basic rates of disposal.


Opportunity to Recycling Legislation

  • Setting goals at the state level for landfill diversion rates ensures that materials are collected  and recovered for recycling.


Recycled Content Product Standards

  • Standards should be revised to allow greater use of recycled and recyclable materials.
  • Carefully evaluate the hazardous waste regulation on recycling programs.


Support of Basel Convention

  • The National Recycling Coalition encourages the U.S. Senate to move quickly to ratify the Basel Convention.


Volume-based Refuse Collection Fees

  • Variable can rate structures should ideally rise steeply so that the rate for pickup of  second and third cans is more that 2-3 times the rate for the first can.



Policies in State & Local government

  • Recommends that public and private agencies and organizations  establish programs to favor purchases of recycled products and engage in source reduction.
  • Legislative, executive and administrative commitment to buying recycled products
  • Using standard specifications definitions and minimum content standards
  • Eliminating prohibitions or limitations against recycled products and including recovered material  content in bid specifications.
  • Requiring the highest percentage recycled content determined to be technical feasible and available in the marketplace in all purchasing specifications.

Guidelines for Recycled Paper 

  • Encourages swift action to conduct the necessary research to address  these questions, to analyze their impacts, and to apply the necessary modifications to the proposed  standard so that they may be adopted and implemented.

Policies in Federal Government Agencies

  • Federal, state, and local governments should immediately institute recycled products procurement  standards that specify minimum post-consumer recycled content and appropriate price preferences for a  broad range of products.

Recycling Economics

Accounting for Cost of Disposal and Utilization

  • Encourages manufacturers to voluntarily evaluate the  environmental liabilities or costs of their products before introducing those products to the  marketplace.
  • Encourages the federal government to conduct an ongoing review  of all federal fiscal policy, such as federal subsidy programs and rate structures, to identify the  environmental impact of these policies, especially as they relate to resource utilization, and to  establish appropriate changes.


Contingency Planning for Recycling Markets

  • Local governments should be encouraged to develop contingency plans
  • Establish trigger levels and mechanisms to direct recycled materials to other uses once the value omaterials falls below established standards.
  • The focus of contingency planning should evolve from short-term protection of  recycling programs and minimization of a citys financial risk to development of new markets and new  products for recyclables. 


Cost-Effective Recycling Operations and Facilities

  • Recycling operations and facilities should be regulated to the extent necessary to protect public health and the environment but not subjected to unnecessary regulations and permitting requirements governing solid waste. 


Establishing Access to Investment Tools for Recycling Projects

  • Appropriate fiscal policies and funding mechanisms must be developed so that they provide waste reduction and recycling with financial opportunities consistent with those available to othewaste management options.


Establishing Economic Incentives through Avoided Collection/ Disposal Costs

  • Avoided collection and disposal costs should be established in a way that provides incentives for waste  generators collectors and landfill operators to expand recycling and encourage the reduction of amounts  of waste generated, and that takes into account future increasing waste disposal costs.  

Fiscal Policies for Public Sector Solid Waste Investments

  • Clearly authorize expenditures for source  reduction recycling and composting collection, processing and market development activities to be eligible  for participation in public investment tools.


Local Funding authority for integrated waste management

  • Local governments should be authorized by state governments to enact a broad range of local fees antaxes to support all aspects of an integrated waste management program and to set rates for waste collection and disposal.


Local Rate Setting/Structures to Support Recycling

  • Recycling programs should not be required to be shown separately  on bills unless all other components of the solid waste system are itemized.
  • Franchise fees for the privilege of doing business in an area should be able to be adjusted during the life of  collection contracts to provide an additional source of revenue for local governments to implement  programs.


Hierarchy of Waste Management Preferences

  • Policies should also be adopted at local, state and federal levels of government to pursue an integratewaste management hierarchy of priorities for solving solid waste problems.


Basic Recycling Practices

  • In order to reduce waste, the NRC recommends to reduce and reuse products to the maximum extent technically feasible.
  • Other recommendations include quantitatively summarizing current purchasing patterns for reusable and recycled materials and products, as well as require in City grants, contracts, consultant agreements and other agreements that printed  materials be on recycled paper.


Building Construction Codes

  • Local buildings codes should require new buildings and major renovations to explicitly provide for recycling systems as an integral component of the buildings‘ waste management systems.
  • Building codes should be developed jointly by the appropriate agencies administering local recycling programs and by all other pertinent local agencies to ensure that specific requirements of building codes are consistent with local recycling programs and maintain the highest standards of health and safety of building residents in their  implementation.


Education & Outreach

Establishment of Annual Recycle Week

  • The National Recycling Coalition supports the national enactment of an annual “Recycle Week” as a means  to remind and educate the population about the benefits of recycling.

Establishment of College & University Curriculum

  • Colleges and universities should develop fully-accredited degree programs for integrated waste management  and recycling to train future graduates to become waste management professionals with expertise in these particular fields.
  • Colleges and universities should  be encouraged to provide the maximum number of recycling opportunities for all materials on campus.

Establishment of K-12 Recycling Curriculum

  • The source reduction and recycling of waste must be reflected in K-12 school curriculum for society to  make this a daily practice.
  • The goal should be to constantly and consistently strive to instill reduce-recycle values over  time.  

  • High schools should be encouraged to provide the maximum number of recycling opportunities for all  materials on campus, to act as a model and to provide experience for volunteer and paid students to learn  about recycling from an operations perspective. 

National Clearinghouse for Recycling information

  • A National Clearinghouse should be established along with a recycling extension service for recyclininformation, sponsored by the EPA.

National Recycling Coalition Role in Recycling Education & Outreach

  • The National Recycling Coalition should maintain current sources of credible pertinent information generated from both outside and within the organization.

Public Involvement in Promoting Recycling

  • The public should also be sought more to participate ilong-term solid waste management and planning.


Market Development

Market cooperatives policy

  • The National Recycling Coalition favors the establishment of marketing cooperatives among interested cities and companies.

Building a Recycled Materials Manufacturing Base

  • Innovation by start-up businesses should also be encouraged to develop solutions to major problems in this field.

Increasing Demand for Recycled Products

  • Developing demand for recycled products by industry and general consumers.
  • Transportation and construction companies must be challenged to adjust their specifications for materials.

Recommended Market Development Instruments and Activities

  • Market development programs must be made an integral part of recycling collection initiatives.
  • The National Recycling Coalition encourages the federal government to support markets for all major recyclable materials, especially paper, plastic and glass products.


Product Labeling

Product Labeling for Recyclability/ Recycled Content

  • Recommends adoption of “green labeling” programs for application to a broad array of  products and packages.
  • Supports adoption of federal legislation or regulation setting nationally uniform requirements and standards to regulate the environmental marketing practices and the  environmental labeling of products and packaging for recyclability, reusability and  recycled content.


More policies

National Database on Recycling Capacity

  • The federal government should establish a national database that includes information on existing and  proposed recycling capacity.


Sustainable Financing – Extended Producer Responsibility to Support Recycling

  • Reduce waste and increase the amount of recyclable materials recovered for recycling.
  • The National Recycling Coalition supports programs and policies for increased recycling and sustainable design where there is broad stakeholder support.


National measurement standards for waste production & recovery policy

  • The federal government should direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a  nationally uniform system for state and local governments to measure waste production and recycling  rates.
  • Standardize definitions of solid waste, municipal solid waste, recyclables, recycled and related terms.


Research & Development & Technology Transfer

  • The National Recycling Coalition recommends that the federal government allocate staff and resources to  facilitate the transfer of information about existing and emerging recycling technologies for all commodities currently recycled from the municipal solid waste stream including, but not limited to, metal, glass, paper, plastics and yard waste.


Recycling Definition Policy

  • “Recycling is a series of activities by which material that has reached the end of its current use is processed into material utilized in the production of new products.”

  • Processes and activities that harm the growth of recycled materials output and  markets and should not be considered recycling.
  • Promotion of new technologies and systems for increasing recycling through increased volumes and quality is critical.


Zero Waste Definition Policy

  •  “Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing  their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are  designed to become resources for others to use.

    ∙ Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and  eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and  not burn or bury them.

    ∙ Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to  planetary, human, animal or plant health.”

  • The National Recycling Coalition hereby adopts the ZWIA definition of Zero Waste to clarify what Zero  Waste means and encourages its members, stakeholders and other interested parties to adopt this ZWIA definition of Zero Waste as well.


Incineration Policy

  • “The National Recycling Coalition endorses and supports a  hierarchy of waste management preferences that gives first priority to source reduction, reuse,  recycling, and composting to minimize the amount of waste to be otherwise managed.” It further  states, “The hierarchy should place primary emphasis on implementing all feasible source reduction,  recycling and composting while not precluding communities from considering transformation  facilities and landfills to address waste which cannot be reduced at the source, recycled or  composted.”


ReUse Policy

  • “The term “reuse” means to extend the life of a product, package or resource by either using it more than once  with little to no processing (same or new function), repairing it so it can be used longer, and/or sharing, renting,  selling or donating it to/with another party. This definition excludes materials used as a fuel substitute and those  used for energy production (i.e. incineration).”

  • The National Recycling Coalition supports reuse and recycling as the most preferred methods of Sustainable  Materials Management (SMM).


Composting Policy

  • Composting is a  viable strategy for achieving the reduction of this portion of the waste stream.
  • The National Recycling Coalition desires to promote composting.


Framework for Advancing Container Recovery

  • The NRC supports deposit return systems for container recovery as a vital strategy to increase  the collection and reclamation of clean materials for recycling into new materials.


National Waste Reduction Goals

  • The federal government should direct the EPA to establish aggressive, achievable national source  reduction, recycling and recovered material utilization goals where recycling goals and utilization goals are in balance.
  • States should be required to annually report their progress in meeting national recycling goals.

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