Thursday, October 8, 2009

Greenies and Hardhats of the World Unite

New Campaign Applauds Recycling in the Senate Climate Bill

For immediate release: September 30, 2009

The Recycling Works! campaign (RW), a coalition of labor, environmental and community organizations applauds Senator Carper as well as Boxer and Kerry for recognizing recycling as a key climate strategy. RW calls the inclusion of state recycling programs in the new Senate climate bill an important step towards rebuilding the economy, and looks forward to working with the Senate on details of these programs.

“We are very pleased to see this bill recognizes the importance of recycling. Increasing recycling rates not only reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, but creates good-paying green jobs that add much needed stimulus to our economy,” says Robert Morales, Director of the Solid Waste, Recycling & Related Industries Division at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The state recycling programs in the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act establish support for local recycling programs, recycling facilities, and increased U.S. manufacturing with recycled materials, all of which will strengthen the U.S. economy. Recycling creates 10 times the number of jobs per ton of waste as landfills or incinerators.

According to a September 2009 EPA report, 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the goods that we produce, consume and throw away. The report notes that U.S. municipal solid waste recycling in 2006 avoided nearly 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing waste going to landfills and incinerators. According to the EPA, landfills are a leading source of human produced methane emissions, and incinerators release more greenhouse gas emissions than coal-fired power plants per unit of energy produced. Even more emissions are prevented when recycled materials replace new raw materials in the manufacturing of new products.

The Recycling Works! campaign is a collaboration of The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to bring together waste workers, community and environmental justice activists to create recycling programs that generate good jobs, combat climate change, create energy independence and revitalize community health.

“We are excited to be bringing the voices of labor, environmental groups, and communities that confront waste to the discussion of climate solutions,” says Steph Sherer of the Recycling Works! campaign.

The campaign recognizes that the climate bill should be strengthened in many areas but is pleased that Congress is acknowledging the importance of recycling as a climate mitigation strategy.

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