Collins, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Nation’s Recycling Programs

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group in introducing the RECYCLE Act, legislation that would create a new federal grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help educate households and consumers about their residential and community recycling programs.


“Recycling is essential to keeping our lands, waters, and other natural treasures free of plastic and other sources of pollution,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan legislation would authorize federal funding to educate consumers on best recycling practices as well as inform communities about recycling programs that are already available to them so that we can all do our part to protect our environment.”


Reports indicate consumer confusion on how to properly recycle is one of the top recycling challenges.  Through education and outreach, the RECYCLE Act would help increase recycling rates and reduce contamination in the recycling stream.

According to the EPA, the recycling rate in the U.S. is 32.1 percent, which presents an opportunity to improve our nation’s recycling systems.  Recycling offers numerous benefits, including diverting materials from landfills; using less energy to reprocess recycled material, which reduces emissions; and supporting the economy.  EPA’s 2020 Recycling Economic Information (REI) Report found that recycling supports more than 681,000 jobs and generates $5.5 billion annually in tax revenues.


The RECYCLE Act would:


·         Authorize $15 million/year over five years in grants to states, local governments, Indian tribes, nonprofits, and public private partnerships to educate and inform consumers and households about their residential and community recycling programs;


·         Direct EPA to develop a model recycling program toolkit for states, local governments, Indian tribes, and partners to deploy in order to improve recycling rates and decrease contamination in the recycling stream; and


·         Require EPA to more frequently review and revise, if appropriate, its Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, which designate products containing recycled materials and provides recommended practices for federal agencies to purchase such products.


In addition to Senator Collins, the legislation was introduced by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Todd Young (R-IN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).


The RECYCLE Act has received broad support from nearly 30 industry groups.


Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.