(from Earth911.com)

Last week U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Delaware) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced a non-binding resolution reinforcing the importance of recycling and expressing support for improvement in the collection, processing and use of recyclable materials throughout the U.S.

“Increasing the amount we recycle is a simple, yet effective way to help our economy and our environment by better managing our limited resources,” said Sen. Carper, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus in a statement. “From 1970 to 2000, we increased our collective municipal recycling rate from just 6 percent to over 28 percent. Yet in the past decade, our country’s improvement in our recycling behavior has slowed…[but] I know that our nation can continue to do better when it comes to recycling.”

The resolution points out that recycling is critical to both the environment and the economy. Recycling not only conserves natural resources and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, but also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the resolution notes. Using recycled materials in place of raw materials can result in energy savings of 92 percent for aluminum cans, 87 percent for mixed plastics, 45 percent for newspaper and 34 percent for glass, for example.

Citing estimates that recycling processors directly or indirectly employ over 450,000 Americans, the resolution notes that recycling accounts for roughly 0.6 of the country’s gross domestic product – more than the fishing and forestry industries combined. Recycling also plays a key role in the U.S. manufacturing industry, the resolution explains.

Many organizations have come out in support of the resolution, including the National Recycling Coalition, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, National Solid Wastes Management Association and American Forest and Paper Association.