Today, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Co-Chairs of the Senate Recycling Caucus, introduced a sense of the Senate resolution expressing support for improvement in the collection, processing and use of recyclable materials throughout the United States. Joining Sens. Carper and Snowe on the resolution are Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.),Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
The resolution reinforces the importance of recycling to the U.S. economy. It is estimated that recycling processors directly or indirectly employ over 450,000 Americans in local communities throughout the United States. These jobs account for more than $90 billion in economic output or roughly 0.6 percent of United States' Gross Domestic Product, which is more than the fishing and forestry industries combined. Additionally, as expressed in the resolution, recycling is a key component of the U.S. manufacturing industry.
The resolution also highlights the environmental benefits of recycling. Recycling not only safeguards natural resources and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, but also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the use of recycled aluminum can save as much as 92 percent of the energy that would have been needed to make that product from virgin material.
"Increasing the amount we recycle is a simple, yet effective way to help our economy and our environment by better managing our limited resources," said Sen. Carper, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus. "Since the first Earth Day in 1970, our country has greatly improved our recycling habits. From 1970 to 2000, we increased our collective municipal recycling rate from just 6 percent to over 28 percent. Yet in the past decade, our country's improvement in our recycling behavior has slowed. Anything I do, I know I can do better, and I know that our nation can continue to do better when it comes to recycling. I am proud to introduce this resolution today with my Senate colleagues to show our support for recycling and recognize its tremendous value to our economy and our environment."
"Recycling is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods to save energy, reduce landfill waste, and supply our manufacturing and construction industries with low-cost materials," said Sen. Snowe. "Recycling is a major industry in the United States and we should continue to grow the companies that are improving our environment and employing Americans. I applaud Senator Carper for his efforts to promote recycling and look forward to demonstrating the U.S. Senate's support for the recycling industry by passing this resolution."
Numerous organizations have endorsed the resolution, including National Recycling Coalition (NRC), Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Paper Recycling Coalition (PRC), Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Steel Recycling Institute (SRI); Environmental Paper Network, American Forest and Paper Association, Aluminum Association and Recycling Organizations of North America.