The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft National Recycling Policy in October. Earth911 speaks with Adina Renee Adler, vice president of advocacy at the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) about the plan’s strengths and areas for improvement. ISRI offered comments about the EPA’s focus on job creation as a primary goal and basis for measuring the new regulations’ success. Instead, increased collection of valuable materials combined with lower contamination rates should guide policy.
We discuss the changes to recycling collection and investments in consumer education that can raise the laggard U.S. recycling rate. Americans recycle between 28% and 35.2% of the materials they buy, depending on the source. The industry supports 750,000 jobs that pay about $36.6 billion in salaries annually, but has become increasingly complex and inefficient as the volume and variety of product and packaging materials has increased in recent decades. Individual state and municipal recycling rules make it difficult for people to understand what they can recycle in their curbside bin or at a local transfer station, and the EPA proposal will do little to reduce the confusion.
Adler also shares ISRI’s ideas about the importance of transparency and accountability by recyclers to help increase consumer confidence in the recycling system. The comment period for the National Recycling Policy continues through December 4, 2020. You can contact the EPA through Regulations.gov or send comments to your Congressional representative.
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This podcast originally aired on October 26, 2020.