The U.S. scrap recycling industry is an economic leader and job creator, generating more than $117 billion annually in economic activity and directly supporting nearly 155,000 “green jobs” through its operations (an additional 378,000 jobs are indirectly supported by the industry through suppliers, including producers of recycling equipment and the induced impact of the industry’s expenditures). And to top it all off, all this activity generates more than $13 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues each year. ISRI works to identify and support initiatives that help strengthen these numbers on behalf of all our members, including:
- Protection of the Depreciation Allowance for Recycling Equipment. ISRI will remain vigilant in protecting our industry-specific permanent federal tax provision that assists ISRI members with depreciation allowances for purchases, sales, and maintenance of the industry’s capital-intensive recycling equipment. The certainty of the permanent depreciation allowance is essential toward long-term investment strategies of the scrap recycling industry, including its ability to invest in new separation and processing technologies that constantly improve the quality of the specification-grade commodities that the industry produces. Following our success in 2008 in securing a permanent tax allowance (RISE), providing a 50 percent accelerated depreciation allowance under Section 179 for qualified recycling equipment, ISRI is communicating with key congressional leaders to protect that provision while also seeking possible upgrades, including increased limits and increasing the allowance to 100 percent.
- Defending Manufacturing Sales Tax Exemptions. ISRI has long held, and continues to advocate, that recyclers are manufacturers that should be accorded the same benefits of a manufacturers’ sales tax exemption in those states in which such an exemption exists. In times of budget shortfalls, states are increasingly looking to restrict eligibility for the exemption, often leaving recyclers in the cross hairs. Building upon recent successes in Florida and in North Carolina, ISRI continues to advise members on the nuances of this area of state tax law and direct chapter lobbyists on the winning arguments for legislative clarification and tax rulings that ensure the exemption applies to ISRI members.
- Providing Market Certainty for the Use of Recycled Crumb Rubber in Artificial Turf. Timely completion of an EPA-led research project studying crumb rubber on synthetic turf fields and playing surfaces is needed to provide certainty to the market for scrap tires as infill material on sports field. Such use of recycled crumb rubber is being questioned by the public because of fear of chemicals associated with this product despite nearly 100 scientific studies concluding that recycled crumb rubber does not pose elevated health risks to athletes using such fields. Last year, EPA agreed to lead a study of this issue with other U.S. agencies, but recently EPA proposed an additional two-year study period. We urge EPA to complete the Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds and release an authoritative final report as soon as practicable, consistent with good scientific practices so as to provide student athletes and their families with the answers they seek while providing the industry with needed market certainty. Additionally, ISRI continues to monitor the occurrence of legislation at the state and local level, coordinating member testimony and resources presented to policymakers supporting the use of synthetic turf made with crumb rubber.
- Stopping Materials Theft through Effective Legislation and Outreach Initiatives. ISRI continues with its successful approach in blocking congressional attempts to create a federal “solution” to a problem that all 50 states have already developed a comprehensive web of regulations to solve. The recycling industry, and the communities across the country where we are located, need robust enforcement of existing laws, not new laws. ISRI is aggressively pursuing stakeholder outreach, particularly with law enforcement and prosecutors, seeking an increased focus on enforcement while providing valuable tools to assist these stakeholders in their important efforts.