U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the U.K. is the first country to introduce legislation that could pave the way for a nationwide program to recycle building materials.
The bill is being considered by the House and Senate in the wake of a growing number of environmental and health concerns about building materials used in construction, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group.
The group is working with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., to launch a coalition that will “support legislation to make building materials recyclable and to improve environmental stewardship,” according to a statement from NRDC.
The legislation, which would require companies to make “consistent use of materials recycled from buildings” in their production processes, would apply to materials used for building materials, such as steel, concrete, plywood, fiberglass, aluminum and glass.
Building materials from non-federal sources would also be exempt.
Building material manufacturers would be able to sell their materials at a competitive price.
NRDC says the bill is the largest effort to curb waste in the United States since the 1970s, when the U,S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Building Materials Recycling Program.
The program, which began in 1980, helps companies reduce waste by recycling non-hazardous materials from buildings.
According to the EPA, the program has reduced building material use by nearly 2.6 billion tons, and it has saved the U and U. S. taxpayers $2.9 billion.
The EPA’s program is expected to cost $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years.
A 2012 study found that a recycling program can cost as little as $10 a ton.
A new law introduced Tuesday by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., could make the recycling of building materials mandatory.
The Senate version of the legislation, sponsored by Merkleys colleague, Sen. Joe Manchin, D -W.
Va., would require a company that manufactures a building material that’s not recyclables to notify the U S Environmental Protection and Safety Administration of the material’s location and “provide an estimate of how much material will be recycled and the time needed to recycle the material,” according the NRDC statement.
The current legislation has no timeline for action.
The NRDC and other environmental groups say the bill’s language is overly broad, would allow companies to deny recycling rights to residents of communities where the materials are being used, and could lead the EPA to revise regulations that are already on the books.
Merkys legislation also requires manufacturers to notify residents when the material is being sold or transferred to another company, the statement says.
“While the bill does not address the specific types of building material manufacturers must recycle, it does require that manufacturers disclose their manufacturing process and methods,” the statement reads.
Merkowski has been a vocal opponent of the proposed legislation.
“We are a nation of laws,” he told reporters earlier this year.
“It is incumbent on the EPA and all states to enforce those laws and the Trump administration to follow suit.”
The bill’s author, Senators Jeff Merkowski, R-Alaska, and Jon Tester, D –Mont., introduced the bill after a report from the National Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization based in D. C., highlighted a lack of transparency surrounding recycling practices in the U of S. The report said that there is no standard for recycling materials, making it difficult for communities to obtain the materials they need to live in a sustainable way.
The agency, which is charged with enforcing environmental laws, has made the materials recycler requirement mandatory for all federal buildings since 2001.
The National Resource Defending Council said in a statement that it “will continue to work with lawmakers on a comprehensive and comprehensive approach to reforming our nation’s recycling laws to promote recycling and reduce harmful and unnecessary use of building and construction materials.”
The group said that the legislation “requires the EPA’s enforcement activities to be more robust, transparent and consistent, and to include a detailed analysis of the data collected.”
The NRDCA, which also represents companies that manufacture non-biodegradable materials such as wood pulp, said it would seek to amend the legislation to include provisions that address the “complex issues of recycling, land use and land use related regulations that have become increasingly complex.”
“Building materials are a critical component of our communities and our economies, and we cannot afford to continue to ignore these critical needs,” NRDC Executive Director Ben Pomeranz said in the statement.
“The Trump administration should use this opportunity to make sure that all Americans have the right to safely recycle their building materials.”