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A coalition of more than 100 environmental groups, recyclers, public health advocates and others are adding their voices to a growing effort calling on Congress to prioritize recycling funding in any future pandemic relief legislation. Led by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the coalition includes nonprofit recyclers Eureka Recycling from Minnesota, as well as Eco-Cycle from Colorado and the Ecology Center from California.
A May 29 letter, shared with Waste Dive, emphasized the need to reduce plastic pollution and ensure steep financial losses associated with the pandemic don’t accelerate a crisis for recyclers because “nobody wins when we lose local recycling programs.” The group recommends Congress pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, which it states “would reduce waste and help local recyclers.”
A separate coalition of plastics groups and other recycling industry stakeholders previously asked Congress to pass a version of the infrastructure-focused RECOVER Act with $1 billion in matching funds. The new PIRG-led effort opposes RECOVER “as written,” stating “such funds could be used to promote dangerous, unproven, and thriftless technologies that would encourage more single-use plastic production at taxpayers’ expense.”