November 15, 2019

Cárdenas, Bucshon Introduce the RECOVER Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, United States Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and introduced the Larry Bucshon (R-IN) introduced the bipartisan Realizing the Economic Opportunities and Values of Expanding Recycling (RECOVER) Act. This bill (H.R. 5115) would allocate $500 million in matching federal grants to eligible states, local municipalities, and tribal governments to invest in improving their recycling infrastructure, programs, and education efforts. their recycling infrastructure, programs, and education efforts.

“This bipartisan, commonsense bill is a smart solution to a growing problem,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas. “The RECOVER Act encourages local and state governments to invest in recycling programs and new technologies to increase collection rates. Through public-private partnerships and a new grants program, we will help communities across the nation with the creation and modernization of their recycling infrastructure. This bill would create new jobs, boost our economy and, ultimately, it is good for American families and the environment.”

In addition to establishing a $500 million matching grants program to support and expand the recycling programs and infrastructure, the RECOVER Act would require the EPA to submit a report to Congress no later than two years after the date of enactment of this legislation on measures taken towards implementation. Moreover, the bill precludes the use of EPA funds for incineration.

“As the father of four kids, it is important to me to leave future generations with a cleaner environment than the one we inherited from our parents and grandparents,” said Dr. Bucshon. “One of the ways that we have been successful in cleaning up our nation’s environment is by encouraging greater numbers of Americans to recycle waste items instead of discarding them in landfills. Today, our nation is facing a recycling crisis due to inadequate infrastructure and the inability to keep up with waste stream contamination. Without the proper recycling infrastructure in place, we will not have the capacity needed to recycle waste items and they will either end up in a landfill, our oceans, or elsewhere in the environment as litter. On America Recycles Day, I am proud to join Congressman Cárdenas in introducing the RECOVER Act, which will help promote greater investment in recycling infrastructure and consumer education to ensure our nation has the recycling infrastructure needed to continue allowing Americans to recycle waste items instead of sending them to the landfill.”

"Prioritizing recycling requires bipartisan support,” said Scott DeFife, President of the Glass Packaging Institute. “The Glass Packaging Institute applauds Reps. Cárdenas and Bucshon for their leadership in introducing this important legislation. The RECOVER Act is a proposal both parties can get behind, as it grows American manufacturing jobs with a public-private matching infrastructure investment package," said Scott DeFife, President of the Glass Packaging Institute. "Recycling efforts, including those focused on glass recycling, need federal support to help the system reboot and handle modern waste stream challenges. This bill -- and the jobs, and economic and environmental benefits it will create and support -- is a viable part of a solution to bolstering domestic recycling endeavors while making an impact on sustainability from coast to coast."

In 2017, China passed a policy banning plastic waste from being imported effective January 2018. In the U.S. alone, some 26.7 million tons were sent out of the country between 1988 and 2016. A 2018 study published in the Scientific Advances estimates that by 2030, the ban might displace 111 million metric tons of plastic. Much of our waste ends up in landfills, is incinerated or sent to other countries due to the lack of infrastructure to properly manage it.


Supporting Groups

American Frozen Food Institute

American Chemistry Council       


Berry Global      


Flexible Packaging Association   

Foodservice Packaging Institute

Glass Packaging Institute             

International Bottled Water Association

Kenrich Petrochemicals, Inc. 

PepsiCo, Inc.

National Waste & Recycling Association

Plastics Industry Association       

SNAC International  

Solid Waste Association of North America       

Sustainable Packaging Coalition / GreenBlue


Vinyl Institute