New Recycling Standards Comment

SWANA is looking for your comments on the EPA's proposed metrics for a national recycling goal.  

The metrics are being developed as part of EPA’s National Framework for Advancing the U.S. Recycling System and a Congressionally-mandated National Recycling Strategy.  EPA intends to present the new metrics at the America Recycles Summit on November 17, 2020.

Please post your comments to AZ SWANA in the space provided below.   Comments received will be forwarded to SWANA National by the end of the day on Friday, September 25, 2020.  EPA will be accepting public comments through October 2. 

These metrics and the associated national recycling goals will be the first objective standards established for recycling at a nationwide level. They will serve as important metrics for years to come and are likely to influence how recycling is measured at the state and local level.  SWANA’s engagement in the development is vital to ensuring that they represent the best possible technical knowledge, while also being easily understood by the general public. 

 Below is the list of potential measures being considered by EPA.  You can find further details on the EPA’s website here.

Potential Measures in the New Recycling Standard:

1. System-Wide Recycling Measures to Assess Recycling Performance

  • Recycling Rate: The percentage of the total amount of discarded or used materials generated that are utilized as feedstock for the manufacture of new products.
  • Recycling Access Rate: The percentage of households that have access to recycling on par with trash collection services.
  • Participation Rate:  The percentage of eligible users regularly using a recycling service.
  • Recycling Jobs: The number of jobs supported directly and indirectly by the recycling industry, including upstream supply chain economic activities.
  • Capture Rate: The percentage of recyclable material generated that are recycled.
  • Recyclables Landfilled: The tonnage of recyclable materials landfilled

2. Reducing Contamination in the Recycling Stream

  • Curbside Contamination:  The percentage of materials that residents place in their recycling collection that are not accepted in their curbside program or acceptable materials that have high amounts of residue.
  • MRF In-Bound Contamination:  The percentage of materials arriving at the MRF that are not accepted by the facility or acceptable materials that have high amounts of residue.
  • Recycled Commodity Contamination: The percentage of contaminants in out-bound recycled commodity materials such as paper, plastic, glass and metals.
  • Residual Rate: The percentage of materials coming out of the MRF that are sent to combustion facilities or landfills.

3. Increasing Materials Processing Efficiency

  • Capacity Utilization Rate: The total tonnage of materials processed by MRFs as compared to the total tonnage of materials that MRFs are capable of processing.
  • Processing Cost: The per-ton operating and capital costs for MRFs to receive, separate and prepare recyclable materials for end-user markets.
  • Processing Yield: The percentage of materials recovered by a MRF or secondary processing facility compared to the incoming materials.

4. Strengthening Markets for Recycled Materials

  • Recycled Commodity Quality: The quality of post-processed recycled materials marketed for manufacture based on standard industry specifications.
  • Domestic Utilization: The percentage of recycled materials used domestically as compared to the amount exported.
  • Recycled Content: The percentage of recycled content within manufactured goods.
  • Commodity Value: The average per-ton value of post-processed recycled materials.