The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) joined by the U.S. Senate Recycling Caucus hosted the annual State of Recycling Briefing. Held virtually this year, the State of Recycling Briefing annually coincides with America Recycles Day, which takes place every November 15.
“While the factors surrounding COVID-19 put enormous pressures on recycling, it also triggered an awakening of the importance of recycling as that first link in the manufacturing supply chain,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener. “During the initial stages of the COVID-19 health pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency deemed manufacturing and its supply chain, including recycling, essential. The Federal Government – with most states following – quickly recognized that the supply of recyclable ferrous and nonferrous metals, paper, plastics, electronics, glass and rubber needed in critical manufacturing are essential, enabling recycling facilities to continue operating through the Pandemic. All told, recycling operations are an essential part of critical manufacturers’ supply chain, supplying 40 percent (on average across all commodities) of their raw material needs.”
The event featured opening remarks from Senate Recycling Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and Senator John Boozman (R-AR), as well as House Recycling Caucus Co-Chair Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL). Additional panelists included: Julie Alsup, Senior Manager, Government Relations, International Paper; Chris Bedell, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, The David J. Joseph Company; and Curt Wells, Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, The Aluminum Association.
“Simple, yet effective education is needed to raise awareness among consumers of the importance of recycling and its essential role in manufacturing,” continued Wiener. “More programs are needed to ensure that consumers understand the need to recycle and to recycle right. On the innovation and investment front, before the pandemic started, recyclers were investing in equipment and new technologies to produce higher grades of recyclables with greater efficiency. ISRI asks for Congress’ support of continued federal funding for U.S. government‐led public‐private partnerships focused on research and development of innovative technologies and implementation of Design for Recycling® principles. These kinds of initiatives will provide new opportunities for the use of recyclable materials in manufacturing. As we hopefully enter a period of economic recovery, it is becoming very apparent that the continuous operations of the recycling industry was instrumental in the encouraging signs of increased activity in the U.S. manufacturing economy.”