SWANA and Keep America Beautiful® commend and fully support the Senate passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, (S.1982)—via unanimous vote—and now strongly urge the U.S. House of Representatives to consider and pass this bill. The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act is designed to improve efforts to combat marine debris both internationally and domestically, and recognizes the important role that robust solid waste management programs and recycling infrastructure play in the prevention and creation of marine debris.

SWANA is very pleased that this important legislation has been approved by the Senate and urge its swift passage by the House,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. He added, “In addition to addressing marine debris, a significant and growing global problem, it will help support our domestic recycling infrastructure at a crucial time. Recycling programs throughout the United States face huge challenges due to the decline in export markets and commodity prices, and this bill provides important federal support for local governments and other recycling stakeholders.”

“Keep America Beautiful believes that it is the shared responsibility among government, the private sector, and individuals to arrive at solutions to the global marine debris issue,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman. “Innovation and partnership will be critical as we pursue solutions that improve our recycling infrastructure and processes to better manage unwanted materials from potentially becoming marine debris.”

The legislation establishes a post-consumer materials management infrastructure grant program that would receive $55 million for each fiscal year (FY) from FY2021 through FY2025, and trash-free water grants of $10 million for each fiscal year from FY2021 through FY2025. The availability of funding for local waste management authorities to make improvements and meet waste management standards is critical at this time, when changes to international and domestic markets are putting pressure on the system. The bill correctly acknowledges that marine debris prevention and improved recycling are naturally intersecting interests.

KAB and SWANA assert that this legislation, along with increased support for public education about correct recycling practices and waste prevention, inevitably helps move the United States towards creating and sustaining a circular economy. As communities and industry continue working together to make recycling work at all levels, federal action and support will play a role in shaping how that future looks. KAB and SWANA are committed to advancing the responsible management of solid waste as a resource.

For more information, visit https://swana.org and http://www.kab.org.