Rep. Stevens Leads Letters Demanding Action on Recycling

July 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — This week, Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI-11) joined Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA-41) and Deb Haaland (D-NM-01) in leading letters to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler questioning their response to China’s January 2018 ban on certain types of plastic materials and fulfilling their responsibilities to reduce economic and technical barriers to recycling. Nearly 50 Members of Congress signed the letters, which highlighted the lack of leadership from federal agencies responsible for creating and maintaining a viable recycling market in the United States.

“As the federal government flounders trying to find a solution to our nation’s recycling challenges, municipal leaders in my district and across the country are having to bear the burden,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “As waste management companies are no longer able to sell recyclables to China, they are driving up their domestic pricing to recoup costs – costs that fall squarely on our municipalities as they struggle to maintain their recycling programs.”

“The federal government must prioritize and promote sustainable recycling practices to ensure that the United States can meet its domestic recycling responsibilities in the wake of China renouncing its role on the global stage,” said Rep. Mark Takano.  “Both the Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency have a role to play as mandated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and it’s imperative for Congress to hold them accountable until they respond to the challenges we’re currently facing.”

Click HERE to read the letter to Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Click HERE to read the letter to Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

In the letters, Members of Congress asked Secretary Ross and Administrator Wheeler if their agencies were developing a strategy to address the recycling crisis, identifying new markets for recycled materials, encouraging greater commercialization of proven recycling technology, and increasing international trade in recyclable materials.

Background: Rep. Stevens on Recycling

  • Last month, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Rep. Stevens’ amendment to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize funding to develop a national recycling strategy to ensure the long-term economic and environmental viability of local recycling programs.
  • As Chair of the Research & Technology Subcommittee, Rep. Stevens convened the first Science Committee hearing about recycling in a decade after hearing concerns about the long-term viability of local recycling programs in southeast Michigan. Paul Sincock, the City Manager of Plymouth, Michigan, came to Washington to testify during the hearing.
  • Rep. Stevens introduced H. Res. 303, a bipartisan resolution expressing support for global Remanufacturing Day. Remanufacturing is the process by which used products are returned to good-as-new (or better) condition, and contributes to sustainable manufacturing by recycling old products.