The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) delivered a State of Recycling Address in Washington, D.C. recently. Two senators from the Congressional Recycling Caucus joined the event, which showcased the upsides of materials diversion.
U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and John Boozman (R-AR) called recycling an important industry that creates jobs. They also said it’s a nonpartisan topic.
“It’s not a very glamorous issue, but it’s a very important issue,” said Boozman.
ISRI President Robin Wiener also took the stage, giving a more thorough report on the state of the industry.
Despite difficult market conditions, she said, recycling remains a vibrant opportunity and is the first link in the manufacturing chain. She called recycling a $100 billion industry.
“Recycling is an important economic engine and job creator,” said Wiener.
Wiener noted that last year recycling transformed 130 million metric tons of material from industrial and residential sources into valuable commodities.
Wiener was joined by Brenda Pulley from Keep America Beautiful, Eadaoin Quinn from
Sims Municipal Recycling and Dave Heglas from Trex Company, who all shared tangible success stories from their businesses.
To conclude, Wiener outlined ISRI’s priorities under the next Congress and presidential administration. ISRI is in favor of policies that promote infrastructure and transportation spending because those will benefit the recycling industry. Because 30 to 40 percent of scrap recycled in America is exported to more than 150 countries, she said, she wants to see tariffs reduced or eliminated.
She also stressed that manufacturers of consumer items must consider how their items will be recycled, and Congress can assist with that through mandates.