EPA Sets National Recycling Goal at 50% by 2030

David Morales, a garbage driver with Recology, picks up a garbage container for Seattle Public Utilities, Friday, April 15, 2016, in Seattle.

David Morales, a garbage driver with Recology, picks up a garbage container for Seattle Public Utilities, Friday, April 15, 2016, in Seattle. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

To increase the national recycling rate from 32% to 50%, the federal government says steps need to be taken to reduce contamination in the recycling stream and strengthen the market for recycled goods.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants 50% of the waste generated in the United States to be recycled by 2030.

Agency officials announced the goal Tuesday during a national recycling summit, detailing strategies they will deploy over next 10 years to increase the national recycling rate from 32%.  

“Reaching this goal will not be easy, but it will be important,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Implementing this goal will require collaboration at all levels of government and across the value chain.”

The national recycling rate is actually headed in the wrong direction, dropping from 35% to 32% from 2017 to 2018, when 94 million of the 292 million tons of municipal solid waste generated that year were recycled and composted. But federal officials said that by creating a broader strategy, they will be able to make it easier for state and local governments that oversee municipal waste collections to run successful recycling programs and to expand markets for recyclable goods.

EPA began to take a particular focus on developing a national recycling strategy to boost recycling rates in 2018, after China stopped accepting most foreign recyclables, including plastics and paper. That move by China has led to higher costs to recycle materials and some local governments have scaled back curbside recycling programs or stopped accepting glass or other materials.

The patchwork of state and local recycling programs, which do not all collect the same types of recyclables, makes it difficult to track national progress on improving recycling rates, said Peter Wright, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management.

But the agency plan focuses on key strategies to increase recycling rates: reducing contamination in recycling collections, making processing systems more efficient, and strengthening the market for recycled materials.

To measure progress in these three areas, Wright said the agency plans to track three key markers: the percentage of contaminants in recycled materials, the percentage of materials that a recycling facility successfully recycles, and the average price of a ton of recycled materials on the market.

“We need definitions and targets so we can all speak the same language,” Wright said.

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
Integrated city systems, unified data, & automation drive 316% increase in field efficiency
Seattle, WA, USA
Streamlining Clean Water Act Compliance Like a Big City on a Small Town Budget
Marlborough, MA, USA
Crowdfunding Capital for Sustainable Wastewater P3 Project in Los Fresnos, TX
Los Fresnos, TX 78566, USA

NEXT STORY: Under Biden, Infrastructure Is Back in Play. But Making a Deal Will Still Be Tough

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.