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Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, it is great to be here with Senator Carper and Senator Capito--two dear friends but also two leaders in the recycling effort, not only recycling in general but the Recycling Caucus--to raise the visibility of the importance of recycling from an environmental standpoint as well as the important role the industry has in our economy.
Of the many caucuses that I am a member of, the Senate Recycling Caucus is one of the most active.
The attention to recycling in Congress is night and day compared to what it was a couple of years ago, in large part because of Chairman Carper's leadership. So I want to thank him so much for his commitment not only in word but in deed.
When China implemented its ``National Sword'' policy in 2018, that halted the import of plastics and other materials destined for its recycling processors. As a result, we really began to see how crippled our domestic recycling abilities were. But through a lot of hard work, we are beginning to help the policymakers and the public and private sectors understand how recycling is common sense.
This is not a red or a blue State issue. Recycling is good for the economy, it creates jobs, and helps the environment. Everyone should be able to get on board with those incentives.
Recycling is a critical part of the United States, with it being a $200 billion industry that has created over 680,000 jobs. However, with the recycling rate in the United States currently sitting at around 32 percent, there is certainly room for improvement.
It will take a team effort to get where we want to be. Corporations, manufacturers, and leaders from across the spectrum all have a role to play in developing the best ways our country can be a global leader in this important industry.
One of the bills we are introducing today is the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act. This is a data collection bill at its core.
As it stands, there is no standardized data for our national recycling system, since there are upward of 10,000 individual recycling systems in the United States at local and State levels. It is hard to fix a recycling problem--it is hard to fix any problem--if you don't have a baseline data point to work with. That is what this bill is all about.
The other bill that we are championing is the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act. This pilot program will award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to improve recycling accessibility in a community or communities within the same geographic area.
While these bills will not completely fix our Nation's recycling system, we know it is progress. If we keep building on commonsense wins, I am confident the United States can become the leader globally in recycling, as it should be.
I look forward to further working with Senator Carper and Senator Capito and, again, thank them for their leadership and their efforts as we champion sustainable and economically beneficial policies that recycling is all about. We must continue to develop meaningful, long- term solutions that address the challenges facing the recycling industry today.
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