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The United States can reach new recycling targets by encouraging reuse at the individual and commercial levels, Sen. Tom Carper said yesterday.

During a panel presentation on Capitol Hill, the Delaware Democrat praised the findings of "More Jobs, Less Pollution: Growing the Recycling Economy in the U.S.," a new report conducted by environmental think tank the Tellus Group on behalf of a number of recycling and labor groups. The paper says recycling 75 percent of the nation's waste by 2030 would create more than 1 million jobs (E&E Daily, Nov. 15).

According to the report, the United States recycles, reuses or composts 33 percent of its waste today and will recycle 41 percent by 2030 under current practices.

Boosting that rate to 75 percent by 2030 is a possibility, Carper said, if the United States can encourage individuals to compost at their own homes while motivating companies to make the most of their waste.

He named a chicken litter recycling programs at Exelon Corp. in Maryland and Perdue Farms Inc. (Greenwire, April 25) as two examples of large-scale projects that are leading the way toward bringing up recycling rates.

The groups' targets are not "pie in the sky" goals, said report author James Goldstein of Tellus.

To build on current efforts, Monica Wilson of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a panelist at yesterday's event, laid out four broad policy recommendations based on the report's findings:

  • Create a national goal to recycle 75 percent of the country's waste.

  • Implement a national goal to produce 30 percent more goods from recycled materials.

  • Develop incentives for organizations to limit use of nonrecyclable materials.

  • Place recycling on par with landfill and combustion disposal methods by adjusting subsidies.

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