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Senate committee approves recycling infrastructure bill

The Committee on Environment and Public Works also advanced the nomination of the EPA Office of Solid Waste assistant administrator.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has voted to move the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act of 2022 forward. The bill would establish a pilot rural recycling program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  

Various organizations in the waste and recycling industry have voiced their support for the bill, including the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington.   

“SWANA is very pleased that the Senate EPW Committee is taking further action to support recycling,” says David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO. "We agree that rural communities often lack access to recycling services and this bill will provide federal support that will help expand the collection of recyclables. We urge Majority Leader [Chuck] Schumer to bring this bill to the Senate floor for prompt consideration.”  

The bill’s pilot program approach will provide current information about rural recycling systems that will be connected to customized solutions for all states and localities. Grants from the EPA ranging between $1 million and $15 million would make programs more accessible for local communities and pave the way for replication in numerous areas.  

“It represents the first substantial attempt to address the shortcomings of recycling for rural and underserved communities in the U.S. through innovative pilot projects and effective funding mechanisms to better serve these communities,” says Billy Johnson, ISRI chief lobbyist in a statement.  

During the same meeting, the committee also voted to move forward with the nomination of Carlton Waterhouse as assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management of the EPA.