Congress Failed To Recycle 63 Million Cans And Bottles Since 1995, Valued At Nearly $1 Million

News Release
For release: October 2, 2000
Contact:
Pat Franklin (703) 276-9800, Lance King (703) 241-4927

Congress Failed To Recycle 63 Million Cans And Bottles Since 1995, Valued At Nearly $1 Million

WASHINGTON (October 2, 2000) - Congress wasted the opportunity to recycle more than 63 million aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles since 1995, according to research released today by the Container Recycling Institute.

"Visitors to the Capitol, along with members of Congress and their staff used an estimated 63 million beverage containers since 1995, most of which went to landfills rather than being recycled. If just 60 percent of these containers were recycled, the U.S. Treasury would have earned $572,000 at current market prices," said Pat Franklin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute.

The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) is a non-profit research and education organization headquartered in Arlington, VA. CRI serves as a national clearinghouse for information on container recycling and packaging issues.

"Congress is wasting taxpayers' dollars, wasting energy and wasting precious resources. Making aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles from recycled materials saves energy and reduces pollution," Franklin said. "For example," she said, "it takes the same amount of energy to make four aluminum cans from virgin materials as it does to make one can from recycled cans."

CRI prepared its analysis in response to news reports that the U.S. Architect of the Capitol could not substantiate lost revenue from failing to recycling beverage cans and bottles. Congress made virtually no money in the past several years from beverage container recycling.

"Congress could improve its recycling program by providing recycling bins for soft drink and non-carbonated drink containers in all cafeterias, food service facilities, meeting rooms and other public areas on the Capitol grounds," Franklin said.

According to CRI, one-half of the U.S. population recycles their cans and bottles as part of a curbside recycling program, and in ten states where beverage containers have a refundable deposit (usually a nickel or a dime) consumers recycle three out of every four beverage containers sold. "Our elected representatives in Washington should follow the example of the majority of Americans who have chosen recycling over wasting," said Franklin.

"It is hard to say which is worse, Congress wasting hard earned taxpayer dollars or squandering energy and finite resources. Either way, it's a solid waste," Franklin said.

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