Recycling Now Officially Part of Climate Change Bill

Date: December 6, 2007

Source: News Room

ISRI Applauds Senate Committee for Passing Recycling Amendment to Climate Change Bill

Sen. Tom Carper's (D-Del.) recycling amendment reveals unspoken "secret" that recycling is integral to fighting greenhouse gas emissions.

A secret no more, recycling was acknowledged today for its contribution to fighting climate change by the United States Senate committee drafting the historic climate change bill, S. 2191, according to the ISRI President Robin Wiener.

"Recycling is a climate friendly industry and ISRI applauds Sen. Carper for recognizing recycling as an essential activity to combat global climate change," said Wiener. "This amendment enhances the role recycling will play in reducing and avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases." 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 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."

According to a 2007 study by the American Institute of Architects, thirty-one percent of respondents believe recycling is the most important thing they can do to affect climate change. Recycling was the highest response, topping driving less and reducing energy consumption.

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.

Scrap recycling is a $65 billion, climate-friendly industry in the United States, directly employing more than 50,000 people and processing more than 150 million tons of recyclable materials each year, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. It also invests significant capital in high-tech, environmentally designed manufacturing machinery that is used to sort, pack, transform, process, manufacture and ship materials to industrial consumers to become new products.

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