UIC Law Review


The United States is a leader when it comes to creating waste, but not when it comes to disposing of that waste in environmentally conscious ways, such as through recycling. While other countries boast recycling rates over 60 percent, the United States’ recycling rate is an unimpressive 25 percent. Even amidst a “zero waste” movement, there are few national efforts to increase our recycling rate. Some state and local communities have picked up the slack, implementing a variety of strategies to boost their recycling output and reduce waste. These initiatives, such as automatic curbside recycling, landfill bans, mandatory recycling, container deposit laws, and Pay-As-You-Throw programs can be applied nationally to reduce the United States’ waste output and increase its recycling rate. This comment explains the Federal Government’s authority to regulate recycling, why it should do so, and the options available to achieve results.