The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) announces its support of two key pieces of bipartisan federal legislation aimed at promoting better recycling programs and reducing landfill waste: the Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Value of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act and the Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act.
“Bipartisanship is rare these days, and it’s encouraging to see legislators come together around an issue that Americans — regardless of political affiliation — care about deeply,” says GMA President and CEO Geoff Freeman.
The RECOVER Act aims to provide monetary assistance through block grants at the local level to support and expand existing recycling infrastructure and programs. In comparison, the RECYCLE Act seeks to provide education and public awareness programs for residential recycling to help increase collection and decrease contamination.
GMA finds that Americans want further leadership from the government in improving the country’s recycling system.
- 77% of Americans believe the federal government needs to take a leading role in tackling packaging waste, similar to the leadership role it played in the Apollo space project.
- 86% of Americans agree that the world is facing a plastic and packaging crisis.
- 77% of Americans view recycling as a public service, not a business.
- 93% of Americans believe national recycling standards will alleviate confusion.
“Our recycling infrastructure is in crisis and the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry commends the attention recycling is now getting in Congress,” says Freeman. “This industry is continuously innovating its packaging, making it more recyclable every day. Each of the top 25 CPG companies has made commitments to increasing recyclable content, minimizing packaging or reusing material — but that recyclable packaging has increasingly fewer places to go as more cities and counties retreat from recycling programs.”
In addition to its support of legislation, GMA representatives have actively brought attention to the need to solve for broken recycling infrastructure. On Nov. 15, as part of America Recycles Day, Freeman joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and leaders from across the public and private sector to discuss opportunities for partnership and collaboration in finding real-world, scalable recycling solutions. Additionally, GMA Vice President of Packaging and Sustainability Meghan Stasz spoke at the EPA Recycling Summit about the need for increased consumer awareness and clarity on recycling rules.
“26% of Americans think that assembling IKEA furniture is easier than recycling, and yet, they still want to recycle,” says Stasz. “Furthermore, 95% said they would change how they recycle if they found out they were doing something incorrectly. We need a recycling system and uniform rules that support their intent.”
In October, Freeman spoke on behalf of the CPG industry before the G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter in Tokyo, urging world leaders to consider national standards — versus patchworks policies — for their own country’s recycling systems.