SWANA weighs in on U.S. infrastructure bill

The Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) has sent a letter to the United States Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee highlighting the importance of federal funding for municipal recycling and suggesting the infrastructure bill being debated does not provide enough.

The letter responded to a recent EPW hearing and roundtable on recycling and the circular economy. EPW held a hearing on September 22 on “The Circular Economy as a Concept for Creating a More Sustainable Future.”  

SWANA’s letter emphasizes that the federal government must provide ongoing support to recycling programs. It noted more than 100 curbside collection programs across the U.S. have suspended or reduced operations over the past three years, primarily due to issues of cost and contamination.

“We feel it’s important for all members of the Senate EPW Committee to hear SWANA’s perspective on these important issues,” said David Biderman, SWANA CEO and executive director.

“In particular, we wanted to urge additional funding for recycling, whether through the Infrastructure bill or other legislation.”

SWANA supports the inclusion of the RECYCLE Act (S.2941) into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684). The RECYCLE Act provides US$75 million over five years to support consumer recycling education and outreach.

SWANA’s research suggests it costs about $1 per household per year to effectively communicate about recycling. This suggests at least $150 million is needed annually for education.

SWANA participated in EPW’s September 13 Roundtable, “Investing in Recycling Infrastructure and Curbing Waste Stream Contamination.” At that Roundtable, Biderman described recycling as critical infrastructure and urged a higher level of federal support.