EPA Releases New Sustainable Materials Management Program Strategic Plan
Last week the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their new Sustainable Materials Management Program (SMM) Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2017 through 2022. The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) is pleased to see so many synergies between the EPA and NRC’s efforts on Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) over the past year, and anticipates opportunities for collaboration.
In an email sent to NRC and other leaders in SMM, Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Mathy Stanislaus, noted that “This strategic plan represents the collective thinking of EPA staff and management across the country, as well as input from many stakeholders including states, industry, and non-governmental organizations. The life-cycle based decision-making and systems-based approaches of SMM reflected in this strategic plan offer far greater opportunities for addressing the complex environmental issues we face today than traditional resource, waste and chemicals management approaches. SMM truly represents a change in how we think about environmental impacts and economic opportunities.” He also noted that the EPA has chosen three main strategic priorities as the focus for the EPA’s future SMM efforts, and that these present significant opportunities to achieve environmental, economic, and social results. These focus areas are:
“1. The Built Environment – conserve materials and develop community resiliency to climate change through improvements to construction,
maintenance, and end-of-life management of our nation’s roads, buildings, and infrastructure;
2. Sustainable Food Management – focus on reducing food loss and waste; and
3. Sustainable Packaging – increase the quantity and quality of materials recovered from municipal solid waste and develop critically important collection and processing infrastructure.
In addition to these strategic priorities, we will continue work in our other SMM emphasis areas including sustainable electronics management, materials measurement, life cycle assessment, and SMM international efforts. Our international efforts include participation in the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency that provides a forum to exchange and promote best practices with business and other stakeholders to address the challenges of SMM.”
View the full plan here.
NRC will continue to provide input to and coordinate with EPA on areas of mutual interest outlined in the EPA plan. NRC’s SMM Summit held in May and followup SMM Roundtable held in September is helping lay the foundation for future dialog with EPA on collaborations in the future.
Gary Liss and Julie L. Rhodes
SMM Summit Committee Co-Chairs