On February 4, 2021, the trade association Consumer Brands Association (CBA) announced the release of a recycling blueprint developed during a Recycling Leadership Council (RLC) meeting held to identify the US government’s role in improving the US recycling system and offer a vision for policy action.
To achieve the target national recycling rate of 50% set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), improvements to the current recycling system are needed (FPF reported). The RLC meeting brought together consumer-facing industries, packaging companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the recycling sector to develop a blueprint highlighting how the federal government can be a positive force in modernizing and standardizing recycling across the country.
With the presented blueprint, the CBA outlines three areas where federal action could lead to the recycling of more and more types of packaging.
Firstly, it identifies a lack of standardized, quantifiable data that hinders policymakers from a comprehensive evaluation of the problem and identifying recycling systems that work well. The blueprint, therefore, suggests creating more clear data collection and reporting requirements. Secondly, nationwide standards and definitions could aid the collection, processing, and sale of value-added products from recycled materials. Finally, the federal government could also support states to finance targeted investments in the recycling sector, not only in infrastructure but also in the education of consumers.
Meghan Stasz, vice president of packaging and sustainability at CBA stated “Without federal leadership, the system will remain fragmented and misaligned, with waste becoming increasingly unmanageable and visions of a sustainable future and a circular economy impossible to realize. Recycling in America will only work with the unified and concerted national effort provided by federal authority and leadership.”
Meghan Stasz (February 4, 2021). “A Blueprint for America’s Recycling Future.” CBA
Consumer Brands Association (February 4, 2021). “Diverse Industry, NGO Coalition Debuts Blueprint Identifying How Federal Government Can Be Positive Force in Fixing Recycling in the United States.”
Recycling Leadership Council (January 20, 2021). “Blueprint for America’s Recycling System.” (pdf)