We advance smart, well-designed recycling policy solutions for people and planet.

Looking to transform recycling where you live?

Whether you are a policymaker, state or civic leader, NGO, company or brand, we have resources to help you facilitate change and action. The Recycling Partnership works across all levels of government in the U.S. to make a difference. 

Recycling Policy 101

Recycling is complicated, but let’s uncomplicate things; building a better system that works for residents, communities, and companies takes policy solutions that accelerate progress. What do those policy solutions look like? Here’s an example: 

Smart, Well-Designed Extended Producer Responsibility 

Smart, well-designed extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy supports local recycling programs and drives sustainable packaging innovations. Extended producer responsibility aims to shift the financial responsibility of managing a material through its entire lifecycle, through the design phase to store shelves and to the recycling bin, to the brands that produce the material. The fees collected by smart, well-designed EPR programs provide a sustainable funding source for residential recycling infrastructure, education, and operations while also driving sustainable packaging innovations and strong environmental outcomes. EPR fees can also incentivize companies to make packaging recyclable or reusable, and to use recycled content. Successful EPR programs use data to make decisions, hold companies and other stakeholders accountable, and clearly define goals. 

We’ve seen how residents want to recycle more, companies want their materials to be recycled, and industry benefits from access to more recycled materials as domestic manufacturing feedstock. Sustainable funding through EPR is critical to achieve that future.  Because the U.S. recycling system is underfunded and underperforming, we are missing out on the full benefits of recycling – more than 200,000 jobs, strengthened supply chains, billions of dollars of economic benefits, and millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions.  


Research Highlight: “Increasing Recycling Rates with EPR Policy” 

See how smart, well-designed extended producer responsibility programs can transform U.S. recycling, create jobs, enhance environmental benefits, boost recycled content for manufacturing, increase participation and access to recycling, and more.

Current Research and Reports

Contact The Policy Team