Advocacy Alert – U.S. EPA Recycling Rate Measurement Methodology

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At the 2020 America Recycles Summit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the overall national recycling goal of increasing the U.S. recycling rate to 50% by 2030.  This national goal will provide the benchmark to evaluate the success of the collective efforts to improve the nation’s recycling system.  EPA is now soliciting comments on the recycling rate measurement methodology until March 8, 2021.  SWANA has requested that the Chapters review the key measurement scoping categories with their and provide any feedback by March 1.

Below are the key measurement scoping categories for which EPA is soliciting comment.  Further information and specific examples can be viewed here.

1. Sources of Recyclable Material – What sources of material should be included in the calculation of the recycling rate (e.g. residential, commercial institutional, industrial, etc.)?
2. Material Streams – In addition to the current standard mechanically-recycled materials – such as paper and paperboard, glass, metals, and plastic packaging – should any other material streams be included in the recycling rate calculation (e.g. textiles, yard waste, food/organics, e-waste, etc.)?
3. Material Management Pathways – Material management pathways refer to how post-consumer materials are processed.  In addition to mechanical recycling, should any other pathways be included (e.g. reuse, donation, composting, anaerobic digestion, etc.)?
4. Material Destinations – Should exports of recycled commodities be excluded in the calculation of recycling rate to focus efforts on increasing domestic markets?
5. Other Considerations – Are there other considerations EPA should take into account while evaluating how to measure the recycling rate?

Methodologies for the three additional key performance indicators that were also announced at the America Recycles Summit (recycled commodity contamination, processing yield and commodity value), will be released for public comment at a later date.  SWANA previously submitted comments in October 2020 identifying its preferred performance indicators based on previous input from the Chapters.


Please contact the Hoosier Chapter with any questions.

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