The EPA released a roadmap Nov. 15 for improving municipal recycling across the country subtitled, Part one of a series on building a circular economy for all. After being set in motion during the 2018 America Recycles Day summit, the National Recycling Strategy has been in the process for several years now. The strategy consists of a way the U.S. can work toward the National Recycling Goal recycling rate of 50 percent by 2030, a leap from the current national recycling rate of 32 percent. The strategy also focuses on delivering environmental justice along with the climate impact reductions, according to the EPA.
Details of the National Recycling Strategy were announced at an America Recycles Day event hosted by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), featuring two members of congress most active in recycling issues, Senator Tom Carper. D-DE, and Senator John Boozman, R-AR. Senator Carper, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, expressed that a waste management solution will need to include more than just recycling, as recycling is not a “silver bullet solution.” Another co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, Senator Boozman, spoke on the need for a team effort in the process of improving materials management across the country. Several industry groups issued statements supporting the strategy as well.
The National Recycling Strategy focuses on five objectives, which, according to the NRS, will help address challenges impacting U.S. materials recovery:
- Improve markets for recycled commodities
- Increase collection and improve materials management infrastructure
- Reduce contamination in the recycled materials stream
- Enhance policies and programs to support circularity
- Standardize measurement and increase data collection
The new NRS contains a few minor differences from October’s draft in 2020 including the addition of measurement and policy as objectives, a more clear articulation of increasing collection as a goal, and market development as an objective.
During the ISRI event, Waterhouse also explained that this new strategy is one of many strategies planned to improve materials management in the U.S., stating, “Moving forward, we’re going to develop additional strategies to help us achieve a circular economy.”