EPA pushes material-management challenges
In remarks before the Air and Waste Management Association this June, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Assistant Administrator Thomas Dunne expressed his vision of a future filled with partnerships between EPA and the private sector designed to recycle and reuse “every major waste stream in the country, especially those wastes like biomass that can be converted to energy.” While the goal is ambitious, it reflects a growing awareness of the value of managing materials better. The umbrella for such efforts is the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC). Created in September 2002, it aims to conserve resources through waste reduction, recycling and energy recovery. The RCC emphasizes a shift from “end of life” to “whole life” issues. One specific goal is to reduce the level of 31 so-called “priority chemicals” in all product lifecycle stages.