ASU contributes to brief on federal recycling policy

In early 2020, Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions colleagues, Alicia Marseille, interim deputy director, and Raj Buch, director of sustainability practice, joined the Consumer Brand Association’s Recycling Leadership Council (RLC), a broad coalition of stakeholders brought together to identify the federal government’s role in fixing the U.S. recycling system.

On February 4, RLC released its Blueprint for America’s Recycling System. The detailed report provides a vision for ambitious policy action that will move the United States toward a circular economy.

Over the past year, Marseille and Buch supported the development of RLC’s blueprint, which is a federal policy briefing that outlines three areas where the government can make a meaningful difference in America’s recycling future.

  1. Create clear data collection and reporting requirements to further understand the problem and inform the creation of a system that works.
  2. Develop national standards and definitions across the nation’s nearly 10,000 recycling systems, providing clear guidance to states and municipalities and taking confusion out of the process for consumers and packaging producers.
  3. Support states with targeted infrastructure investments, tax credits and grants.

Marseille is quoted in the policy brief: “A system is a set of interconnected parts organized within a defined boundary to provide functionality or utility. Systems thinking involves understanding the components, stakeholders, knowledge, policies and regulations, patterns and relationships that make up the packaging value chain. Since packaging comes in hundreds of combinations of materials and fabrication processes, there is no single answer to the “perfect” system — the answer lies in utilizing a holistic, systematic approach to evaluating and redesigning packaging systems.” RLC was joined by bipartisan members of Congress on February 4, 2021 for the official launch of the briefing.