United States commits to improving recycled material markets as part of first ever circular economy announcement


The United States Government will seek to improve markets for recycled commodities as part of its first ever commitment to creating a circular economy.

Among five strategic objectives, it wants to reduce contamination of collected materials while also increasing collection rates. These objectives as part of its National Recycling Strategy are:

  1. Improve markets for recycled commodities through market development, analysis, manufacturing, and research.
  2. Increase collection of recyclable materials and improve recycling infrastructure through analysis, funding, product design, and processing efficiencies.
  3. Reduce contamination in the recycled materials stream through outreach and education to the public on the value of proper recycling.
  4. Enhance policies and programmes to support recyclability and recycling through strengthened federal and international coordination, analysis, research on product pricing, and sharing of best practices.
  5. Standardize measurement and increase data collection through coordinated recycling definitions, measures, targets, and performance indicators.

The strategy was launched by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It also committed as part of this strategy to managing materials for a circular economy. This is the first time the United States has said it will look to build this type of economy, rather than the current linear model.

Along with other relevant US Government agencies, EPA will develop strategies for sustainable product design, reducing waste generation and material reuse.

EPA administrator Michael S. Regan said: “Our nation’s recycling system is in need of critical improvements to better serve the American people. EPA’s National Recycling Strategy provides a roadmap to address system challenges and pave the way for the future of recycling.

“As we move forward with this strategy, EPA is committed to ensuring that historically underserved and overburdened communities share in the benefits that our work will deliver. Together with the historic investments in recycling from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, the strategy will help transform recycling and solid waste management across the country while creating jobs and strengthening our economy.”

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