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[greenyes] Steven Johnson's answers to Jeffords' recycling questions

Thought some of you might be interested in Steven Johnson's written answer
to Sen. Jeffords question following last week's confirmation hearing. Thank
heavens we've got Sen. Jeffords to keep recycling on EPA's radar screen!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In your written testimony, you note that "recycling and composting of
municipal solid waste has increased more than tenfold in the last decade."
Notwithstanding this statistic, the recycling rates of many consumer
commodities, such as plastic, aluminum and glass, are at historic lows.
Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the quantity and
quality of recycled feedstock needed to meet demand. As Administrator, what
steps would you take to encourage greater recycling?

Answer: EPA is aware of the recent difficulties encountered in recycling
specific commodities and the Agency is committed to improve the rate of

EPA is developing Action Plans under the Resource Conservation Challenge
which will target selected waste streams in municipal solid waste for
special emphasis based on generation and recovery rates and the potential
for increased recycling. We identified these waste streams as the most
effective focus to help the nation achieve a 35% national recycling rate.
Specifically, EPA will have a national focus on increased recycling for in
three sectors of municipal solid waste: paper, containers and packaging, and
organics (including food waste and yard trimmings). These are large sectors
of the municipal solid waste stream which that will provide opportunities
for increased recycling.

Through these Action Plans, EPA will be providing a national focus by
engaging the Agency's ten Regional Offices in the effort. However, EPA
cannot alone increase recycling. It will require collaborative efforts with
our primary partners - states, tribes, and local governments - as well as
key stakeholders in business and industry and in the environmental
community. Businesses, manufacturers, consumers, schools, and all Americans
have a role in increasing recycling. EPA's key role is to engage national
stakeholders in broad initiatives.

In addition to the large-volume waste streams for which EPA will design and
implement programs which will stimulate and foster increased recycling, the
Agency is also committed to increasing the recycling of electronics
materials. Although electronics currently does not represent a very large
percentage of the municipal solid waste stream, it is growing quickly and
poses some unique waste management issues. Just recently, EPA sponsored a
National Meeting with various stakeholders interested in electronics
recycling. As a result of the meeting, a number of specific activities and
actions have been identified for which further work will be undertaken.

Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1601 North Kent Street, Suite 803
Arlington, VA 22209-2105
TEL: 703.276.9800
FAX: 703.276.9587
EMAIL: pfranklin@no.address

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