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Subcommittee Leader McKinley Opening Remarks in Recycling Hearing


Washington, D.C. — In the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing today, Subcommittee Republican Leader David B. McKinley (R-WV) delivered the following opening remarks during a hearing on recycling and Democrats’ attempts to ban the manufacture of critical plastics.

Excerpts and highlights from his prepared remarks:


“We all know solid waste is a problem, whether it’s tires, papers, plastics, or batteries. And it’s been a problem for decades.

“Government-led efforts to recycle generally started in the 60s.

“The government was trying to change human behavior. It hasn’t worked well, has it?

“In fact, even after 60 years of government incentives, America still only recycles 23% of its waste.

“But once again, it looks like Democrats want big government to step in, this time to ban plastics.

“For example, two of the four bills before us today call for a moratorium on any new environmental permits for plastics facilities, just one more step to banning them.”


“Shouldn’t we just let the free market run its course?

“It’s clearly worked for paper, oil, glass, and steel recycling. So why are we treating plastics differently?

“There are issues with recycling plastics like the cost, the separation of plastics, they have different colors and chemistries and they don’t mix, and developing recycling facilities in rural America.

“Just over two years ago, this committee had a hearing on plastic waste and witnesses discussed the advancements being made in plastics recycling.

“So, I’m hoping that today our witnesses will provide us with an update on those advancements in biodegradable plastics and other innovations in recycling.

“That way, we can tackle those issues, rather than just ban plastics.”


“But let’s look at the big picture.

“Not everyone lives in Los Angeles, New York, or Chicago, cities with robust recycling programs.

“What are small, rural communities supposed to do?

“Just consider Hazard, Kentucky or Petersburg, Indiana. These are towns with 300-400 people.

“Forced with rising inflation and energy prices, should Congress be imposing another increase on their cost of living?

“Only in Washington to people think that we can legislate changes in human behavior.

“Recycling is certainly in issue and has been for 60 years.

“But the free market will tell you that banning plastics is not the solution.”

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