New EPA Conservation Program Aims to Reduce Waste

New EPA Conservation Program Aims to Reduce Waste

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the "Resource Conservation Challenge," a new effort to encourage Americans to take more responsibility for their individual environmental impact. The program was announced at the National Recycling Coalition's 21st Annual Congress and Exposition in Austin, Texas.

Two goals form the core of the Challenge, both to be met by 2005: boost national recycling from the current rate of 30 percent to at least 35 percent and curb generation of 30 harmful chemicals typically present in hazardous waste by 50 percent. To help meet the targets, EPA also introduced 12 innovative new projects, part of the EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response's Innovation Initiative, testing resourceful ways of reducing waste, recovering energy, recycling, and revitalizing land.

"We are challenging all Americans to take a 'hands-on' approach to helping conserve our precious natural resources," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Marianne Lamont Horinko. "EPA is asking Americans to adopt smart environmental practices, make smart environmental purchases, reuse more products, and recycle at least one pound of their household waste a day. The results of the Resource Conservation Challenge and the innovative projects will be less waste, more economic growth and greater energy savings and recovery."

Sixty-eight projects characterized by their flexibility, partnership, and innovation make up Resource Conservation Challenge. One project, the "Waste Minimization Partnership Program," seeks businesses and industry participants to work towards the 50 percent reduction of 30 harmful chemicals, including lead, that pose major threats to public health and the environment. American Video Glass, Corning Asahi, Dow Chemical Corp., International Truck and Engine, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing are the founding members of the partnership.

EPA will support actions that help reach the Challenge goals through efforts to:

  • Establish partnerships and alliances with industry, states and environmental groups;
  • Provide businesses, governments, and citizen groups with training, tools, and technology assistance; and,
  • Encourage participation of the general public, especially youth and minority groups, thorough outreach and assistance.