Recycling bin and symbol
The EPA's new National Recycling Goal aims to increase the U.S. recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

National Recycling Goal aims to boost recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a new goal to increase residential recycling rates during the America Recycles Summit Nov. 17.

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November 18, 2020

During the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) America Recycles Summit Nov. 17, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler discussed the draft of the National Recycling Strategy and unveiled a National Recycling Goal that aims to increase the U.S. recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030.

“This ambitious national recycling goal will help guide investments and commitments from across the recycling system,” Wheeler said.

EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management Assistant Administrator Peter Wright added that the U.S. recycling rate “has lingered in the low 30 percent range for the last 20 years.”

“The economic and environmental benefits from recycling are clear, and we’ve made a lot of progress, but much more needs to be done to obtain the benefits of increasing the national recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030,” Wright said. “We appreciate every organization that has submitted comments over the last three years, and every organization that has issued a public commitment to continue to help us reach the national goal.”

According to a news release summarizing this year’s America Recycles Summit, the event’s participants also discussed the draft National Recycling Strategy. EPA says that strategy identifies targeted objectives to create a stronger, more resilient and cost-effective U.S. recycling system.

At the Summit, Wheeler encouraged the public to comment on how the EPA can measure progress and actions needed to achieve the three objectives in the draft National Recycling Strategy, which include:

  • reduce contamination in recycling;
  • make recycling processing systems more efficient; and
  • strengthen economic markets for recycled materials.

EPA says the draft National Recycling Strategy remains open for public comment through Dec. 4. When finalized, EPA adds, this strategy will serve as a road map to achieve its new National Recycling Goal.

Recycling industry associations, such as the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, have expressed support for the EPA’s new recycling goal announced this week.

“We commend the EPA administrator for his vision of a new goal to achieve a 50 percent residential recycling rate by 2030,” says ISRI President Robin Wiener. “ISRI is grateful to Administrator Wheeler and the entire EPA team for their personal dedication to enhancing recycling as well as their vision to create a National Recycling Strategy. We look forward to continuing to work with the America Recycles Network to successfully implement the strategy and achieve ’50 by 30’.”

ISRI says it has supplied comments to the EPA’s National Recycling Strategy.