Infrastructure legislation regulates recycling, including what to do with old EV batteries

It’s not just bridges and roads that are about to receive federal assistance. The Employment and Infrastructure Investment Act includes key provisions related to recycling aimed at keeping plastics out of the oceans and reusing batteries, including in larger numbers of backup electric vehicles. Ants will be used on the road.

Environmental groups welcome the new attention, but some recycling experts warn there is still a gap between the federal vision and how local communities can implement their recycling programs.

Read: Recycling is confusing – how to be smarter with all that takeout plastic

NS infrastructure bills about 1 trillion dollars, signed on Monday by President Joe Biden, including RECYCLE Act, spending $75 million on recycling education. This new initiative uses Environmental Protection Agency resources to educate households and consumers about residential and community recycling programs, reducing pollution in the recycling stream. and supporting recycling infrastructure.

The bill also includes $275 million in funding for Save Our Seas 2.0, an extension of the only major recycling-related bill passed last year, proponents said. That bill calls for infrastructure updates and other measures to keep plastic out of waterways.

Another $200 million will help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, which at least one ocean group calls a “spike” for the US government in its response to the litter problem. ocean plastic, both at home and abroad.

“Fortunately, steps are being taken within the powerful council to improve recycling and reduce more than 11 million tons of plastic pollution Nick Mallos, senior director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program.

And $100 million in funding through the EPA is designed to help businesses adopt and improve measures to prevent and reduce pollution.

Battery recycling funding is also included in the infrastructure bill.

The act provides $7.5 billion to help establish a national EV charging system and $5 billion for electric school buses. It also contains $6 billion in battery materials processing grants and battery manufacturing and recycling grants.

Read: ‘Made in America’ tax credit – what car buyers considering using a Tesla, Rivian or other electric vehicles need to know about Build Back Better

“Advocates see waste as a clear sign that recycling is being valued more as an essential infrastructure after months of calls for the Biden administration to bring the industry into the broader national dialogue, ” Megan Quinn, writing in Waste Dive, recycling industry newsletter.

“Investing in better recycling infrastructure can be expensive, and proponents see federal funding as a way to clear cost-related barriers to improving recycling practices,” she said. in the United States.

For its part, The Plastics Industry Association says it has stepped up efforts including better documenting the amount of recycled plastic materials that go to waste and teaching companies that there is a viable business model for collecting and recycling plastic, including from offices and hospitals, and get them back into the supply chain.

But most recycling advocates argue that a larger shift in use is needed to keep waste out of landfills and clogging water lines. NPR and PBS Frontline late last year, reported on a months-long internal industry investigation into the recycling and plastics industry. Industry awareness that recycling won’t keep plastic out of landfills and the environment has been around since the program’s earliest days, they found.

“There is a serious suspicion that [recycling plastic] an industry insider wrote in a 1974 speech. However, the industry has spent millions of dollars telling people to recycle, because, as one former top industry insider told NPR, Selling recycled plastic is selling plastic, even if that’s not true.

All used plastic can be turned into new, but picking them up, sorting and melting them is expensive. Plastic also degrades each time it is reused, meaning it cannot be reused more than once or twice.

On the other hand, new plastic is cheap. It is made from oil
+ 0.03%

and gas, and is almost always less expensive and more flexible when it comes to starting a new one.

On Monday, the EPA released what it calls National recycling strategy 2021 “To address the major recycling challenges facing the nation and create a stronger, more flexible and cost-effective municipal solid waste recycling system.”

Strategy 2021 is the first time that EPA’s recycling strategy will address the climate impacts of the production, use, and disposal of materials and focus on human health and the environmental impact of waste. and waste-related facilities in overcrowded communities, it said in a statement.

“Our nation’s recycling system is in need of important improvements to better serve the American people,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “As we continue to execute on this strategy, EPA is committed to ensuring that formerly underserved and overwhelmed communities share in the benefits our work will bring.”

Dylan de Thomas, vice president of external affairs for The Recycling Partnership, says recyclers are eager to think of the best way to spend their money. [EPA] funding, but he worries it could take “years, not weeks or months” before those dollars are released to eligible recipients.

“It’s exciting to see those dollars coming from the federal government to support recycling programs, but they’re really just a drop of water, and [implementation] He said during a panel discussion at the National Recycling Congress earlier this month. Infrastructure legislation regulates recycling, including what to do with old EV batteries


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