In an article published on August 12, 2019, news provider Waste Dive reported on the release of a new status report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on proposed efforts to advance the recycling system in the country. The report presents the status of four workgroups developed following the 2018 America Recycles Summit that are aligned with four “critical action areas”: i) promote education and outreach, ii) enhance materials management infrastructure, iii) strengthen secondary material markets, and iv) enhance measurement.

The report highlights challenges and priority actions for each action area. Current priority actions include developing “consistent messages for key recycling issues” such as the prevention of contamination in collection streams, creating “a clearinghouse for information that is publicly available” to aid in “identifying effective ways to upgrade recycling infrastructure,” and “explor[ing] opportunities to spur regional and local market development activities” to promote use of secondary materials. It appears that development of “common terminology, a national public relations campaign or possible legislation are all farther off.” However, Waste Dive identifies a range of other, “more transformative ideas” currently being discussed by politicians that could motivate the EPA “to go beyond the lighter plans this report suggests.”

Further announcements regarding the progress of the workgroups and action areas are possible in November 2019. State and local recycling capacities in the U.S. have seen challenges over the past year (FPF reported). Discussion around improving recycling infrastructure in the U.S. has also been increasing, including calls for widescale improvement of national recycling systems by the U.S. House Science Committee (FPF reported).

Read more

Cole Rosengren (August 12, 2019). “EPA releases status report on efforts to ‘advance’ US recycling system.” Waste Dive


EPA (July 2019). “Status Report: Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System.” (pdf)