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EPA Issues Draft National Recycling Strategy, Requests Comments

November 9, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft National Recycling Strategy. The draft strategy “identifies strategic objectives and actions needed to create a stronger, more resilient, and cost-effective U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system,” reports EPA in a press release on the draft strategy. The release also identified factors stressing recycling systems in the U.S. as:

  • confusion about what materials can be recycled;
  • recycling infrastructure that has not kept pace with today’s diverse and changing waste stream;
  • reduced markets for recycled materials; and
  • varying methodologies to measure recycling system performance.

The three objectives of the draft strategy are: 1) Reduce Contamination in the Recycling Stream; 2) Increase Processing Efficiency; and 3) Improve Markets. Among the steps identified to increase processing efficiency are: conduct a needs assessment of recycling infrastructure in the U.S.; increase consideration of the sorting process in the design of new products; and develop and implement national recycling system definitions, measures, targets, and performance indicators.

EPA has requested comments on the draft National Recycling Strategy by December 4, 2020.