Who would have guessed that buried in the 450-page financial plan passed by Congress last month to shore up the U.S. financial system would be legislation providing a 50% accelerated depreciation allowance for purchased recycling equipment.

The Recycling Investment Saves Energy (RISE) provisions were part of several energy-savings provisions in the legislation. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries claims RISE will encourage the procurement of advanced sorting, separation and processing technologies that will let recyclers process mixed materials, such as paper and plastics, into commodities that can serve as valuable raw material feedstock in additional manufacturing applications. The capital costs of these new innovative technologies can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to tens of millions of dollars per piece of equipment.