Trade groups say proposed federal legislation would help fund recycling education nationwide.

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Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has issued a statement in support of the RECYCLE Act, proposed legislation introduced with bipartisan sponsors in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

Fellow Washington-based trade association the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) also has come out in favor of the proposed legislation, touting it as a way to “improve residential recycling programs.”

“The RECYCLE Act will help educate millions of Americans on how to recycle paper and paper-based products, increasing the quantity and quality of paper in the recycling stream,” says Brock of the AF&PA. “Providing grants to fund recycling education programs is a necessary step to help ensure consumers can successfully contribute to paper recycling’s success story.”

The text of the Senate bill (S-2941), which can be found on this web page, says the purpose of the proposed legislation is to “require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a consumer recycling education and outreach grant program, and for other purposes.”

Beyond the funding and coordination of recycling education, another part of the bill calls for periodic reviews of the federal government’s recycled-content procurement policies.

“ISRI is pleased with the reintroduction of the RECYCLE Act, a solution that provides public awareness, education, and much needed clarity for residential recycling programs in the U.S.,” says the association’s Vice President of Advocacy Adina Renee Adler. The act was first introduced in November 2019 in the prior (116th) Congress.

Adler adds, “Studies show Americans want to recycle, and more importantly, recycle the correct way. The RECYCLE Act will help significantly reduce the contamination often found in residential recycling and, as a result, help build sustainable markets for these valuable materials.”

Brock says of the role of the papermaking sector, “Our industry is contributing to a more circular and sustainable future, with more than $4.1 billion in manufacturing infrastructure investments planned or announced from 2019 to 2023 to continue the best use of recovered fiber in manufacturing our products.”

She adds, “For over a decade, the paper industry has achieved a consistently high recycling rate, meeting or exceeding 63 percent each year — a rate that’s nearly doubled since 1990, when we first set a paper recycling goal.”

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