National Legislation And Regulations, 11/5

NRC Town Hall on National Legislation and Regulations

10 am-12pm PST / 1-3pm EST

Presented by: National Recycling Coalition Policy Committee


Panelists (bios below)

  • Anja Malawi Brandon from Senator Merkley’s office will talk about “Break Free from Plastics Pollution Act”
  • Jill Hamilton from Senator Whitehouse’s office will talk about “Save Our Seas Act 2.0”
  • Sarah Perry from Senator Portman’s office will talk about the “Recycle Act”
  • Patrick Currier from The Paper Recycling Coalition will talk about “Protecting America’s Paper for Recycling (PAPER) Act”
  • Shane Trimmer, Senior Policy Advisor, Congressman Alan Lowenthal

This webinar will focus on the latest proposed national legislation regarding reuse, recycling, and composting, including:

Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act (S3263) will establish a bold, comprehensive national strategy to address the growing plastic pollution crisis. The BFFPA will reduce plastic waste and will hold plastic producers responsible for financing and managing waste collection and recycling programs.  The bill[1]:

  • Makes certain producers of products (e.g., packaging, paper, single-use products, beverage containers, or food service products) fiscally responsible for collecting, managing, and recycling or composting the products after consumer use.
  • Establishes minimum percentages of products that must be reused, recycled, or composted; and an increasing percentage of recycled content for beverage containers.
  • Phases out a variety of single-use products, such as plastic utensils and encourages the reduction of them, including establishing a tax on carryout bags
  • Establishes refund for consumers returning beverage containers (National Bottle Bill).
  • Creates temporary moratorium on new or expanded permits for facilities that manufacture plastics until regulations are updated to address pollution from the facilities.
  • Requires EPA to develop national standardized labeling for recycling and composting receptacles.
  • Establishes limitations on the export of plastic waste to other countries.

Save Our Seas Act (S1982): The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act is composed of three main pieces[2]:

1) Strengthening the United States’ domestic marine debris response capability with a Marine Debris Foundation, a genius prize for innovation, and new research to tackle the issue.

2) Enhancing global engagement to combat marine debris, including formalizing U.S. policy on international cooperation, enhancing federal agency outreach to other countries, and exploring the potential for a new international agreement on the challenge.

3) Improving domestic infrastructure to prevent marine debris through new grants for and studies of waste management and mitigation.

Recycle Act (S2941): The RECYCLE Act would:

  • Authorize $15 million/year over five years in grants to States, local governments, Indian tribes, nonprofits, and public private partnerships to educate and inform consumers and households about their residential and community recycling programs. 
  • Direct EPA to develop a model recycling program toolkit for States, local governments, Indian tribes, and partners to deploy in order to improve recycling rates and decrease contamination in the recycling stream.
  • Require EPA to more frequently review and revise, if appropriate, its Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines, which designate products containing recycled materials and provides recommended practices for federal agencies to purchase such products.

PAPER Act (S1396): The Protecting America’s Paper for Recycling Act (PAPER Act) was introduced on May 9, 2019, by Senators Stabenow (D-MI), Boozman (R-AR), Isakson (R-GA), Carper (D-DE), Cassidy (R-LA), and Baldwin (D-WI).

The legislation protects recyclable paper by addressing ambiguity in the federal tax code. Specifically, it would clarify that waste-to-energy facilities would not be eligible to receive federal tax credits for energy produced from burning paper that has been collected as part of a system that deliberately mixes recyclable material with garbage (i.e., a dirty MRF).

This is one of a series of NRC National Policy Town Halls organized as part of the National Zero Waste Virtual Conference. NRC will provide background documents to the panelists and attendees, including adopted NRC policies about those topics.

Each of these Town Halls is to recommend by the end of the session how NRC should update its policies on these topics and issues that all those attending could work on together as priorities for the next couple of years.

The NRC Policy Committee will compile the results of these sessions into recommendations for action to the NRC Board of Directors and others to consider in updating policies and programs to support these topic areas.

[1] Source:

[2] Source:

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