NWRA Chairman Harvey Testifies Before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

NWRA Chairman Harvey Testifies Before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Arlington, VA – National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) Chairman Ben Harvey testifies today before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee at its hearing to examine legislative proposals to improve domestic recycling and composting programs, particularly in rural areas.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to testify before the Senate EPW Committee and present the industry’s perspective on improving recycling infrastructure and accessibility for rural communities,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “We wholeheartedly support a program where rural communities can access the global recycling markets.”

Ensuring that all Americans have access to recycling provides equity and ensures sustainable materials management across the nation. However, rural areas often have unique challenges in collecting recyclables and accessing recycling markets, leaving these communities underserved.

“We believe rural recycling can be achieved through the ‘hub and spoke’ model, which creates consolidation hubs that service the spokes leading out to small communities,” said Harvey. “These recycling hubs, often referred to as transfer stations, are where smaller truckloads of materials can be consolidated into larger truckloads for their final transfer to processing facilities.”

Hub and spoke systems reduce transportation and provide much-needed operational efficiency. They also improve recycling access and lower the overall costs for rural areas, thereby making recycling much more viable for these areas.

NWRA also urged support for the Recycling and Composting Accountability Act. The legislation would empower the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect certain data related to recycling and composting. Paper and cardboard have long made up the largest component of recyclables, but this has changed significantly with newspapers now only a third of what they were in 2005 and cardboard boxes from households increasing due to the “Amazon effect.” Food waste has become the largest part of what is landfilled, and the amount of clothing disposed of has doubled over the last 20 years.

Harvey said, “Whatever we do, however, needs to be undergirded with good data. Recycling, composting and waste composition have changed significantly over time. As a businessman, it is important for me to be able to make decisions founded on good data.”

NWRA has long supported legislative efforts to increase funding for recycling education and incentivize investments in domestic recycling infrastructure. Most recently, NWRA worked closely with lawmakers and staff to ensure legislative priorities such as the Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act were included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the president signed last year. The RECYCLE Act aimed to increase both the quality and quantity of recycled materials. The bill established a consumer recycling education and outreach grant program within the EPA in an effort to clean up America’s recycling stream.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association