The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Land and Emergency Management received funding from the 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to develop two new grant programs focused on solid waste infrastructure and recycling education and outreach. Recognizing that they needed input from potential beneficiaries to design an effective program, OLEM turned to ERG for support.
ERG developed materials and coordinated webinar logistics for 115 national and regional feedback sessions conducted over six months, reaching over 4,700 stakeholders. We also facilitated the national feedback sessions to help ensure meaningful engagement from the public during the Q&A sessions. For additional feedback, EPA issued a Request for Information for each grant program. Hundreds of organizations responded by submitting comments, which ERG recorded, cataloged, and analyzed. ERG then aggregated and analyzed the feedback provided from the feedback sessions and RFIs. A particular focus of this analysis was on understanding the needs and barriers of recycling for overburdened and underserved communities, including rural and tribal communities, as well as communities with environmental justice concerns. The feedback collected from the hundreds of invested people and organizations who participated served to inform the design of robust and responsive grant programs to increase recycling, support transformation of the nation’s recycling system, and advance a circular economy for all.