Highlight Video of the EPA-Hosted 2018 Recycling Summit
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Highlight Video of the EPA-Hosted 2018 Recycling Summit

>>Andrew Wheeler: We are
gathered here today to advance solutions
to today’s recycling challenges. In addition to keeping valuable
materials out of landfills, recycling supports
more than 750,000 jobs and provides $6.7 billion
annually in tax revenue. [applause]>>David Biederman:
Local governments, who are often stuck
between vocal citizens who demand ever increasing
recycling goals and the practical reality
of volatile, commodity markets and that recycling, although
an essential public service, isn’t free.>>Helen Lowman: We also heard
a lot of, “It’s very confusing.” Even the avid recycler
in the group was like, “I don’t know what to do
with this. I don’t know
what to do with that. I don’t know
when it gets rinsed. I don’t know where it goes.” So, a lot of,
“It’s too confusing.”>>Stephen Sikra: And our
consumers tell us one thing and that is
they look for us to give them sustainable
products and packages. While they’re buying
our products because they want them
to perform, they look to us
to design it properly for proper recovery
and proper recycling. Plastic has value.
We want it back. We don’t want it
on the beach. We should not have
to do beach cleanups. As I’m here from
Procter & Gamble, many other brand companies
would tell you the same message: material has value
and we’d like it back. And one way to bring it back
is through collaboration. So, I think that’s the final
message here is we need to collaborate together across
the entire value chain. From the starting material side
to the converters to the brand owners,
through the retailers, and the post consumers
recovery collection and reclamation systems
along with good policy, and when we answer each of those
factors across the supply chain, we can all benefit.>>Nina Goodrich: From
an infrastructure perspective, we need to think about what is
the future of packaging? Today, we’re really focused
on what we have today and what we can recycle, but what if we want to get ahead
and we want to lead, we need to work
with those companies that are creating the future
of packaging and understand how to create
that infrastructure for tomorrow’s package.>>Donna Harman: Partnerships
are a way that we can augment and amplify
what each of us are doing, and in public education, that’s probably one
of the most critical as we’re trying to understand
the role that millennials are playing
in the future of recycling.>>Heidi Brock: It’s a problem
that is largely due to lack of infrastructure,
public education, and the appropriate
policies on recycling, and I think this gets
to this issue of the value of the material that people
have been talking about today.>>Steve Russell: In helping us
remember that recycling fits within a broader
sustainability framework and that’s very important for all sorts
of resource management, so thank you for that
about the models that will take us into
the future may not be the models that have brought us
to where we are today. Nobody wants the materials
to be wasted, nobody wants
the environment contaminated by plastic or paper
or aluminum or glass. We want to all do better,
and so let’s find ways to capture the great energy
of the moment and celebrate today as
America’s Recycles Day.>>Darryl Smith: Just because
something is recyclable doesn’t mean it has
a market to be recycled.>>David Biederman: How
we measure recycling is something that we should
be keeping in mind as we move forward
on all these other areas around education
and infrastructure.>>Keefe Harrison: While
recycling feels universal, the truth is only half of
Americans can recycle at home as easily as they can
throw something away. Those that do recycle, how much
are we getting of their stuff? It’s about half.
So, we’re at half of the half. That means
20 million tons of materials getting disposed every year.
What does 20 million tons mean? That came up earlier.
Do we have a visual to that? Well, if we were able
to recover that, that’d be the same as taking
enough cars off the road to more than circle the globe. We can make measurable change
between now and next year in those four areas.
In fact, we have to. Communities cannot bear the cost
burden of recycling alone. They look to the companies,
to governments, and to organizations,
like many of those in the room, to help them
and help them we must. And we must do it quickly
because if we do not, they will not survive
this economic blip, this blip for recycling will turn into something
much more dire and we will have
a bigger job on our hands.>>Barry Breen: So, where are
we going with this? Obviously, we’re going to take
as much as we can from what you shared today and we hope that together,
among ourselves and with others
who are interested in joining over
the next several months, we can develop
a national action plan. Will it be perfect? No, but do we have a chance
to just wait and do nothing? Absolutely not. At the same time,
doing nothing is not an option because everybody signed
that sheet that says, “You’re going to do something.” So, you’re already committed,
as are we.

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