Federal Environmental Protection Agency Urges Americans to Recycle More & Recycle Properly

ecomaine, Maine’s leader in sustainable waste management, welcomed news of broad federal focus on importance of residential recycling to global manufacturing industry

PORTLAND – (May 13, 2020) Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a statement and resources urging American residents and communities to continue recycling during this current pandemic.  (Please see below for the EPA’s full statement.)

As ecomaine, the Solid Waste Association of North America, the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries, and others have said, recycling — and recycling properly — is more important now than ever.  Recycled materials are meeting the needs of our manufacturers, grocery stores, and residents every day, from paper goods to cardboard boxes, and medical equipment, just for a few examples.

“I am very encouraged to see the EPA Administrator’s statement that focuses on the critically essential nature of municipal, residential recycling,” said ecomaine CEO Kevin Roche.  “For the importance of this work to be recognized so clearly at the Federal leadership level speaks volumes and reinforces our belief in the vital nature of residential recycling to the broader global supply chain.”

Furthermore, the EPA distinguished between recycling and proper (trash) disposal of protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, etc., so as to keep the public and waste collection workers safe.

EPA Stresses the Importance of Recycling and Proper Disposal of Personal Protective Equipment

EPA is encouraging all Americans to recycle materials from their households and properly dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially during the Coronavirus public health emergency. Recycling isn’t just good for the planet by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and saving energy, it also supports American manufacturing.

Recycled materials are used to make new products as well as the boxes that these and other essential supplies are shipped in for the everyday needs of hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies and American homes. Currently, businesses that normally recycle large amounts of paper and cardboard are not able to do that due to the impacts from the current public health emergency. Because of this, household recycling is more essential than ever.

Americans all over the country are staying home, getting more deliveries in cardboard boxes, eating at home, and generating more material than normal, much of which can be recycled.

EPA encourages households to do their part – recycle more and recycle correctly so the right materials are available for U.S. manufacturers. To do so:

  • Check with your local recycling hauler to see what materials they accept right now and recycle what you can from your
  • Break down shipping and food boxes, rinse out containers and cans, keep them dry and clean, and put them in your curbside bin to be
  • Keep disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks, other PPE and medical waste out of recycling bins.

When taking trips to essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies, please do not litter disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves or other PPE, instead put them securely in a trash can and follow local trash and Center for Disease Control guidelines.

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