JANUARY 2008

Senate Committee passes recycling amendment

A secret no more, recycling was acknowledged for its contribution to fighting climate change by the United States Senate committee drafting the climate change bill, S. 2191, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) president Robin Wiener.

The amendment introduced by Sen. Carper, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus, strengthens recycling as a tool against climate change in two ways:

  • It provides for a lifecycle study of the benefits of recycling regarding the reduction or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) with a view toward the use of recyclables in the manufacturing process; the impact that design for recycling will have on increasing recyclables output; and the establishment of a standardized GHG emission reduction measurement and certification protocol for manufactured products and scrap recycling; and
  • It provides funding to improve or increase various recycling activities in states for statewide programs.

Recycling’s ability to fight climate change stems from its affect on sustainability by reducing the need to exploit many of the earth’s natural resources and by the significant decrease in energy usage derived from processing recyclable materials as manufacturing feedstock compared to processing virgin materials.

“By all accounts and by every possible metric, the activity of recycling is among the most climate friendly activities imaginable,” Wiener added. “Recycling is prevalent in the United States, with both a private and a public infrastructure in place to immediately increase the recycling of materials as diverse as bridges, automobiles, pipes, office paper, tires, and computers, in addition to common household recyclables like cans, bottles and newspaper.”

In addition to ISRI, the following recycling organizations support the Carper recycling amendment: Aluminum Association, Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), Paper Recycling Coalition (PRC), Owens-Illinois, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), National Recycling Coalition (NRC), American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA), and Tomra, North America.