The Recycled Materials Industry’s Guide to Maintaining Strong Connections and Positive Relations with Communities
ISRI members and the recycled materials industry have long been committed to being good neighbors in the communities in which we operate. We know we have an important role in both building and maintaining healthy neighborhoods, and we strive to be active members and partners in the community’s wellbeing and growth.
Environmental justice is a fast-evolving issue in the federal and state and local regulatory arena that has great potential to directly impact the recycled materials industry. As federal and state governments increase their focus on the issue, it is essential for recycled materials companies to communicate clearly about their value to the community and their commitment to the principles of environmental justice. To do so, ISRI is curating and regularly updating the following resources for members, with information and available tools at the links below.
Environmental justice means different things to different people, but it has an emerging federal regulatory meaning which could directly impact recycled materials companies. According to the EPA, environmental justice “is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.” From the EPA point of view, environmental justice is a focus on providing citizens with “the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
The federal government has not yet adopted laws or regulations regarding environmental justice. However, some agencies have issued polices and guidance on incorporating environmental justice considerations into federal permitting, enforcement, cleanup programs and land use development. The federal government is also building capacity to regulate environmental justice considerations into laws, policies and programs.
Meanwhile, many states are not waiting for federal government clarity. Some 21 states thus far have either directly targeted recycled material company permitting or other permitting requirements that may include recycling facilities.