New legislation that invests in recycling systems across the United States is set to benefit everyone––consumers, government, and industry––by helping to reduce waste and reuse valuable resources, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) says. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed through the Senate in August with bipartisan support, includes funding for the RECYCLE Act and Save Our Seas 2.0 Section 302 grants, which will educate consumers and help municipalities maintain or expand their existing recycling programs. IBWA calls on the House of Representatives to uphold its commitment to vote on the Senate bill by September 27.
The infrastructure bill is a great step in acknowledging the importance of reducing waste and reusing valuable resources, especially fully recyclable beverage container packaging, such as bottled water. In addition, the education investment will help address the issue of consumer confusion about what can and can’t be recycled.
As part of the Recycling Infrastructure Now (RIN) coalition, IBWA supported this measure’s investment in recycling improvements and consumer education. “By working together–government, consumers, and industry–we can reduce our energy use through the reuse of available resources and move closer to a circular economy,” says Cory Martin, IBWA’s VP of Government Relations.
Funding for Section 302 grants within the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act will allow US EPA to support improvements to local post-consumer materials management, including municipal recycling programs and assist waste management authorities in making improvements to local waste management systems. The legislation includes $75 million ($15 million a year over the next five years) for RECYCLE Act grants to educate consumers and a further $275 million for Save Our Seas 2.0 Section 302 grants (over five years) for municipalities to expand their recycling systems.
“The funding that will help municipal recycling programs educate consumers on how best to recycle as well as grants for municipalities to expand their recycling systems is absolutely critical,” says Martin. “This will create new jobs and recover more post-consumer packaging that the industries such as bottled water will use to produce new container packaging. Reusing existing resources reduces energy and the need to use virgin materials. It will also help reduce the amount of recyclable packaging that ends up in landfills. We applaud the Senate for passing this bill and strongly encourage the House to pass the infrastructure package as soon as possible.”
Additional information about bottled water and recycling can be found on IBWA’s website, www.bottledwater.org.