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5 solutions that can help strengthen the recycling industry

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has submitted comments before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as part of the Committee's hearing titled "Responding to Challenges in the U.S. Recycling System."

In its comments, ISRI states that given the complexity of the recycling system within the United States, there simply is no one single answer to the challenges facing recycling in the United States. ISRI goes on to provide a number of solutions that, taken together, can make a significant difference. 

While there is no singular solution to the challenges in recycling, there are a number of solutions that, working together, can result in significant improvements to strengthen recycling. Some of these solutions include:

1. Design for recycling: Implemented through U.S. procurement guidelines and other purchasing and procurement requirements, ISRI supports policy tools that incentivize or require manufacturers to design their products for recycling in conjunction with including more recycled content.

2. Provide funding for education and consumer awareness around recycling:  ISRI supports addressing the education vacuum as a multi-prong and multi-stakeholder responsibility, such as through the numerous public-private partnerships that already are successfully raising the bar for consumer awareness.

3. Encouraging innovation and investments in recycling activities:  ISRI supports policies that will support broader collection and additional processing of recyclable materials through grants, loans and tax incentives for new equipment and innovation; business financial assistance programs and recycling-specific technical and financial assistance.  However, such support is conditional upon a level playing field for public and private recyclers who have invested significant private capital and entrepreneurship. 

4. Strengthening domestic recycling and market development through government procurement policies and investment in projects that mandate recycled content:  ISRI fully supports initiatives and incentives that are designed to strengthen domestic residential recycling and markets utilizing the strength of the U.S. Government's purchasing power.

5. Support for public-private partnerships that promote innovation in recycling: The Committee's support of continued federal funding for U.S. government-led public-private partnerships focused on research and development of innovative technologies and implementation of Design for Recycling principles would go a long way to help address the challenges facing recycling.

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