Solid Waste

Progress in Implementing the Federal Program to Buy Products Containing Recovered Materials Gao ID: T-RCED-92-42 April 3, 1992

The amount of solid waste America produces has reached staggering proportions, increasing from 87 million tons per year in 1960 to 180 million tons in 1988; 216 million tons annually are projected by the year 2000. In the past, most of this waste has ended up in community landfills, many of which are now reaching capacity. This testimony focuses on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which encourages the development of products containing recovered materials, thus reducing the volume of solid waste destined for landfills. GAO discusses the (1) Environmental Protection Agency's progress in developing procurement guidelines on products containing recovered materials, (2) overall federal progress in implementing the procurement program, and (3) Department of Commerce's role in encouraging the commercialization of resource recovery technologies used to obtain usable materials from items that might otherwise be discarded.

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