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Ilhan Omar, Other Lawmakers Introduce 'Zero Waste Act'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Rep. Ilhan Omar, along with other lawmakers, introduced the Zero Waste Act Thursday. It's a bill that seeks to end use of toxic landfills and transition to a zero waste economy – part of the "Green New Deal".

The bill is intended to create a federal grant program to aid local cities in investing in zero waste initiatives. Omar says the funds from the federal grant program would go toward recycling infrastructure or towards the "creation of partnerships with local businesses aimed at reducing waste in their operations."

She said the bill hits close to home, too.

"Waste is toxic. Landfills were responsible for 103 million metric tons of carbon equivalent emitted as of 2011, or 18 percent of all methane emissions," Omar said. "Waste is also an environmental justice issue. Nearly 80% of incinerators are placed in low-income areas or near communities of color and indigenous lands including North Minneapolis and the Phillips neighborhood in Minnesota's 5th District."

Omar said the Zero Waste Act will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean waterways, protect communities from health hazards, create jobs, grow domestic manufacturing and further grow the economy.

New Mexico's Rep. Deb Haaland and Oregon's Rep. Earl Blumenauer also helped introduce the bill.

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