Oakland Press: Haley Stevens forms task force to improve recycling efforts nationwide

Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) is launching a task force aimed at investing in recycling technologies and further reducing the impacts of plastics on the environment.

On Tuesday, Stevens joined with fellow lawmakers and industry professionals to announce the formation of the Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force, which will be comprised of lawmakers, state and local officials, and recycling industry representatives. One of the main functions of the task force will be to identify and discuss innovative approaches to plastics generations and recovery.

The first-term congresswoman said with plastics having become such a fundamental in our lives, it has led to progress being made on various recycling technologies. Stevens said she intends to hold a task force meeting in Michigan sometime next year.

“With this progress, however, comes a cost,” she said. “Some estimates suggest that Americans dispose of 22 million tons of products that could have been recycled every year,” she said. “We produce far more plastic than we can properly recycle, domestically and internationally. The extent of plastics pollution is becoming ever more apparent and more alarming.”

Other functions of the Congressional Plastics Solutions Task Force will include:

• Highlight changes and innovations in the private sector;
• Increase understanding of the challenges facing our domestic recycling infrastructure;
• Identify and discuss the latest research on those topics;
• Build consensus among Members of Congress around opportunities to address plastic waste.

Those in attendance during the Tuesday launch event included representatives from the American Beverage Association, Circular Ventures, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo.

In June, the House of Representatives unanimously passed 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.

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