Earth Day Panel Brings National Waste & Recycling Association to Capitol Hill

NW&RA's Chaz Miller speaks to Environmental and Energy Study Institute panel
Apr 22, 2014 2:45 PM ET
Chaz Miller, National Waste & Recycling Association

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2014 /3BL Media/— The National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) took to Capitol Hill on Earth Day to discuss the state of recycling in America and the need to educate the American public to help improve recycling.

Chaz Miller, director of policy/advocacy for NW&RA, spoke to an Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) panel on “Recycling in America” Tuesday afternoon at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

“Recycling in America is evolving as the waste stream has changed,” Miller said. “While we are going in the right direction with recycling, we have plenty of opportunities to recycle and compost more. Americans need to ‘know before they throw’ in order to recycle smarter.’ ”

A high-resolution photo of Chaz Miller is available at

Miller’s presentation provided a snapshot of recycling in America today, with 9,867 curbside recycling programs available to more than half of all American adults. He discussed the “evolving ton” concept, which explains that waste generation has decreased due to changes in the materials we use on a daily basis, such as the decline in printed paper and continued light-weighting in packages and products. These changes have slowed the increase in the recycling rate and lead to increased interest in recovering organics such as food and yard waste.

“We are no longer the Saudi Arabia of waste,” Miller said. “We are making less waste than predicted, and the materials and products we use in our daily lives have evolved tremendously.”

In addition, a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by NW&RA found that, while more than half of Americans have access to curbside recycling at home, and two-thirds claim to know what belongs in a recycling bin, one-third of American adults have room for improvement in recycling etiquette.

“This is our opportunity to emphasize recycling education and expand public recycling and composting opportunities nationwide, to help build the most sustainable materials management system possible,” Miller said.

Joining Miller on the panel were Nelson Widell, co-Founder of and partner with Peninsula Compost Group, LLC; Bradley Guy, associate director with the Center for Building Stewardship and assistant professor at The Catholic University of America; and Walter Alcorn, vice president of environmental affairs with the Consumer Electronics Association.

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The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. NW&RA members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that collect and manage garbage, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors and a variety of other service providers. For more information about how innovation in the environmental services industry is helping to solve today’s environmental challenges, visit