Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), has issued a statement in support of the RECYCLE Act, proposed legislation introduced with bipartisan sponsors in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

“The RECYCLE Act will help educate millions of Americans on how to recycle paper and paper-based products, increasing the quantity and quality of paper in the recycling stream,” Brock states. “Providing grants to fund recycling education programs is a necessary step to help ensure consumers can successfully contribute to paper recycling’s success story.”

Additionally, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), another association that also is based in Washington, has come out in favor of the proposed legislation, touting the RECYCLE Act as a way to “improve residential recycling programs.”

The text of the Senate bill (S-2941) says the purpose of the proposed legislation is to “require the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a consumer recycling education and outreach grant program, and for other purposes.”

Beyond the funding and coordination of recycling education, the bill calls for periodic reviews of the federal government’s recycled-content procurement policies.

“ISRI is pleased with the reintroduction of the RECYCLE Act, a solution that provides public awareness, education and much-needed clarity for residential recycling programs in the U.S.,” says the association’s Vice President of Advocacy Adina Renee Adler.

The RECYCLE Act was first introduced in November 2019, during the prior (116th) Congress.

Adler says, “Studies show Americans want to recycle, and more importantly, recycle the correct way. The RECYCLE Act will help significantly reduce the contamination often found in residential recycling and, as a result, help build sustainable markets for these valuable materials.”

“Our industry is contributing to a more circular and sustainable future, with more than $4.1 billion in manufacturing infrastructure investments planned or announced from 2019 to 2023 to continue the best use of recovered fiber in manufacturing our products,” Brock says of the role of the papermaking sector.

She continues, “For over a decade, the paper industry has achieved a consistently high recycling rate, meeting or exceeding 63 percent each year—a rate that’s nearly doubled since 1990, when we first set a paper recycling goal.”