Recycling interests are applauding a bill in Congress that would authorize a grant program to fund waste reduction, recycling and reuse efforts.
The Zero Waste Development and Expansion Act (H.R. 3237) calls for creating a U.S. EPA grant program, which would fund local government efforts to deploy technology, invest in infrastructure and conduct outreach in support of waste reduction, recycling and reuse.
It was introduced July 28 by Minneapolis-area Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison and referred to the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.
"The grants program established in your legislation will provide critical investment in infrastructure and technologies," wrote Mark Lichtenstein, president and CEO of the National Recycling Coalition, in a letter to Ellison. "This will help achieve the goal of a more sustainable America for our future."
The U.S. Composting Council also lauded the legislation.
"The U.S. Composting Council supports this bill and all efforts that help to divert organic residuals away from disposal and into composting," the group said in a statement. "The inclusion of language that offers funding for public/private partnerships should benefit both local business and the environment."
In April, Ellison talked about his intention to introduce the bill after visiting a shopping district in Minneapolis that implemented a commercial composting program with a $10,000 grant.
Under the legislation, in order to win a grant, a local government would have to establish waste prevention, recycling and composting, reuse or public education goals. Grant recipients could partner with private sector groups.
The bill would authorize an appropriation of up to $100 million for fiscal years 2016 through 2021 for the grants program. If passed, Congress would still need to actually fund it, however.
Officials from Ellison's office couldn't be reached for comment by Resource Recycling.
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