SGIA Joins US EPA in Its Second National Recycles Day Summit

Written November 22, 2019

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November 15th is recognized as National Recycling Day. To recognize this event, US EPA hosted its second summit to address and advance recycling in the US. The summit is timely due to the complete disruption in the recycling markets of China and other Asian countries, which severely limited the importation of materials for recycling at the beginning of 2018. The day included and update on progress made over the past twelve months. SGIA is excited to be joining the effort by signing the America Recycles Pledge, which has grown from 45 initial organizations to over 165 total signatories to date. By signing the pledge, SGIA has committed to leveraging its expertise, strengths and resources to address challenges and opportunities in the US recycling system.

US EPA reports that recycling in the US increased to 35.2% in 2017, with only 60% of the citizen base having access to curbside recycling programs. With the release of the National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System, the Agency lays out its goals for 2020 in the areas of promoting education and outreach; enhancement of materials management infrastructure; strengthening secondary materials markets; and enhancing measurement.

In addition to continued efforts by summit workgroups in these areas, US EPA has identified key projects to pursue. The Agency would like to develop a pilot educational campaign to encouraging recycling of plastic film through retail/alternative collection programs. The goal of this project would be to reduce contamination of the recycling stream as well as safety hazards that plastic bags can cause at materials recovery facilities. In addition, the Agency seeks to develop a map of existing recycling infrastructure to help identify gaps and needed investments. And, finally, the Agency seeks to develop options for an incentive-based voluntary program to increase recycling by helping to strengthen and increase domestic demand for post-consumer recyclable materials.

SGIA continues to focus its efforts on providing information to the industry regarding recycling options. Our recently launched resource site provides updates on activities as well as tools to help companies find recycling opportunities.