Tom Carper, U.S. Senator for Delaware

In the years that I have served in public office, recycling has also become a top priority for me, as well as a true passion. I love recycling because it helps us preserve our limited resources and reduce our landfill input, all while creating creating good-paying, American jobs. For a small state like Delaware, recycling is particularly important because of the limited space our state has for landfills.

Today, we see that our resources – financial and natural – have been stretched, and stretched in some instances to their limits. We need solutions to managing our resources that are win-wins for our economy and our environment. Recycling is one of these win-win solutions.

Recycling Fast Facts

  • In 2010, the U.S. recycling industry recycled over 130 million metric tons of recyclable materials valued at $77 billion, from which 44 million metric tons valued at almost $30 billion was sold to over 154 countries around the world.
  • The recycling and remanufacturing industries account for over one million jobs in the United States and over $236 billion in annual revenue.
  • Recycled aluminum cans results in energy savings of 92%; recycled mixed plastic, 87%; recycled steel cans, 63%; recycled newspaper, 45%; and recycled glass, 34%.
  • The U.S. recycles only about 33% of our waste, which is quite low when compared to other industrialized countries.
  • The U.S. recycles only about 7% of our plastic and 21% of our glass and aluminum.
  • The U.S. throws away enough aluminum cans every month to completely rebuild our country’s commercial air fleet.
  • If all of us here in the U.S. increased by just 10% the amount that we recycled, we could conserve enough energy to heat 7.5 million homes or provide electricity to 2.5 million Americans, nearly three times as many residents as we have in Delaware.

Senate Recycling Caucus

In 2006, Senator Carper and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) founded the Senate Recycling Caucus. The aim of the Senate Recycling Caucus is to educate Senate members and staff on the need for recycling, the benefits of recycling to the U.S. economy and environment, and to support public policies aimed at increasing recycling across the country.

In the 112th Congress, the members of the Senate Recycling Caucus are:

  • Tom Carper (D-DE), co-chair
  • Olympia Snowe (R-ME), co-chair
  • Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
  • Michael Crapo (R-ID)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • James Risch (R-ID)
  • Mark Pryor (D-AR)
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Mark Udall (D-CO)
  • John Tester (D-MT)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
  • Ron Wyden (D-OR)
  • Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
  • John Thune (R-SD)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  • John Kerry (D-MA)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  • Robert Casey (D-PA)
  • Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
  • Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
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