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Mourning a Loss in the ISRI Family

Jan 16, 2020
markreiterIt is with much sadness and grief that I share with you that Mark Reiter, ISRI's employee of nearly 30 years and current vice president of government relations, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Mark always said that when he joined ISRI, he thought he would stay for a few years and then move on to something else. But he fell in love with the industry and the members, and he literally never left.

Having had the pleasure and honor of working beside Mark for his entire ISRI career, I can honestly say that doing right for the membership was always at the top of his mind, and doing it with integrity was always his first priority. Mark absolutely loved working for the recycling industry and was dedicated to advancing the interests of each and every member. What he loved most was using his experience and expertise to help empower individual members to feel comfortable meeting with their local, state, and national representatives. Mark helped create ISRI's original grassroots advocacy network. He would tell members that "when meeting with your elected representatives, always remember that you are not a Democrat, you are not a Republican, you are an ISRI-ite!" In other words, if you want to do what is best for the industry, you have to put ISRI above party politics.

While Mark accomplished many things in his years at ISRI, he was most proud of the work he did alongside that grassroots network to lobby for the passage of the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA) in 1999. SREA saved the industry hundreds of millions of dollars and created the precedent for recognizing recyclers as distinct from disposal or waste operations. He truly made a difference for the industry.

Politics and the political process defined Mark. He was fond of recalling that he started in politics at age 10, working on sound trucks for various candidates in his hometown of the Bronx, N.Y. In the years that followed, Mark worked for New York Mayor John Lindsay; he moved to Washington, D.C., to work for Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.); he spent 10 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; then he returned to Capitol Hill as a senior staff member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. In 1992 he left government and joined ISRI as manager of legislative and international affairs. As Mark once said, "Being connected to politics keeps my engine going."

Mark was also a wonderful and dear friend to me and many others on staff, throughout the membership, and here in Washington. He will be missed.

Funeral arrangements are still pending. We will set up a tribute page on ISRI's website which will be updated with details once they become available.

Robin Wiener


  1. 13 Brian Shine 18 Jan
    Mark Reiter was an extremely valued ISRI staff member and so much more!  He was a friend to all those that knew and interacted with him, which included his work colleagues, ISRI members as well as the hundreds of Senate and Congressional members and their staff.  Everyone that worked with Mark quickly realized how very passionate and skilled he was at understanding complex legislation being proposed and the likely impact, if enacted, on our industry.  Further, he knew what needed to be done to alter proposed legislation in such a way that maintained credibility with legislators all while fiercely protecting the business interests of ISRI members and most importantly,  just plain doing the right thing for everyone’s best interest.  Not an easy balance at all but somehow Mark always made it look easy.  He will be greatly missed and always remembered as one of the great ones!
  2. 12 Charles Medico 18 Jan
    Mark was a pleasure to work with an be a friend with.knoledgable and friendly. Will be missed.
  3. 11 Peter Van Houten 18 Jan
    Mark was a friend and colleague that helped me understand the importance of engaging with our legislative system in an agnostic fashion.  Further he taught me the importance of being at the table in order to make a difference.  My heart goes out to the ISRI staff on this loss.  Prayers to all.  Peter
  4. 10 Bruce Blue 18 Jan
    Mark was one of the kindness people you would ever meet.  Anything you asked of him, he would try and accomplish.  He loved ISRI and its members.  Not many like him
  5. 9 greg dixon 19 Jan
    Several times I started to type a message but tears got in the way.  Mark was truly a great person.  I always enjoyed out conversations and feel like every meeting we always found time to take time sit down for a few minutes and reconnect.  I will miss him dearly.
  6. 8 Scott Horne 19 Jan

    Mark Reiter was a good man; honest, full of integrity, skilled at his craft and passionate about doing the best he could for his friends and the people for whom he worked.  Mark was also congenial, witty, ardent, devoted, prosaic, loquacious, and soignée amongst many other things.  And, perhaps most importantly, Mark was a terrific “dad” to his two Australian Shepherd dogs;  he loved them with all his heart, gave them the greatest care possible and spoke of them with everlasting affection.  They, in return, provided him with immense joy and nachas.

    Words cannot express the shock I felt when I learned Mark had died. As I took in  the words, the grief that overwhelmed me was profound because Mark and I started off as friends, became colleagues, and ultimately grew to be like brothers.  My grief quickly grew into a sense of loss and bewilderment over what days without Mark would be like.

    Although never reticent to speak out about things, Mark was a very private individual, sharing his personal thoughts only with a small circle of good friends.  I am thankful that Mark drew me into that small circle because it allowed me to see a very different Mark than most others saw.

    When I last spoke with Mark (just a couple of days before we had spoken on the phone for over an hour and a half, which was de rigueur whenever we spoke) he sounded great, said he was feeling good, had just enjoyed spending time with his grandnephew and his family near San Diego, and was really excited about the prospect of purchasing a residence in California for when he would retire.  The call, as usual, was dynamic, filled with repartee, irrational segues non-sequiturs, and some very serious matters too but gave no hint of what was to come in the next couple of days. 

    Mark, my good friend, I will miss you.  May your memory be a blessing forever.
  7. 7 Matt Levine 19 Jan
    I will miss this kind, intelligent man who was my friend. Zikhrono livrakha. May his memory be a blessing.
  8. 6 Peter Kramer 20 Jan
    Mark's steady and calming nature got us through many crisis over the years. He had a way of explaining just how bad something could be for us while at the same time giving us confidence that it would all work out. And he always delivered. Although, I haven't seen him much in the last couple years, I still and always will consider him a friend, a good friend, and the best that ISRI ever had to offer us. Rest in peace my friend.
  9. 5 Diana Mota 20 Jan
    I am so saddened by Mark's passing. He was a good man. Stood by his convictions and was true to himself. I have great respect and admiration for him. I was lucky to consider him not just a former colleague, but a friend. We stayed in touch after I left ISRI, and he helped me through some really tough times. The last contact I had with him was in December when we exchanged holiday greetings via email. After thanking me for connecting him with Black and White cookies, the last thing he said to me was: Don't forget Chinese Cookies--which I've never seen attempted outside of NY. You should try one! ... On that, he was adamant. :0) I will miss him. Rest in peace, Mark. I hope they have plenty of cookies where you are!
  10. 4 Danielle Waterfield 21 Jan
    Mark was a mentor, colleague, advocate, gentleman and friend who will be greatly
    missed. Who could ever forget his stories of his days with Bella or any
    of the other tales from his many adventures around the world and in
    politics? He will live on in the lives of those he touched and be
    forever remembered for his desire to teach those willing to learn from
    his great experiences in life. I will miss you Mark and be forever grateful
    for your mentorship and friendship.
  11. 3 Sunil Bagaria 21 Jan
    It is impossible to comprehend Mark's loss. His passing away depicts the vulnerability of life. Mark would always greet you with a smile and stop by to actually enquire about you. I came close to Mark when staging the fund raiser for the Congressman in NJ. He held our hands through the entire process. When a young girl recited a poem about the state of our planet during the fundraiser, Mark was the one who said that it should be printed in ISRI's publication and he made sure it got published. His wealth of knowledge and experience will certainly be missed by ISRI. 
    May God grant his soul eternal peace and his family the strength to bear his loss.
  12. 2 mike mattia 27 Jan
    Mark was a great asset to the industry and a wonderful, kind and generous friend,
  13. 1 Anne Forristall Luke 27 Jan
    I am shocked and saddened to learn of Mark's death. He and I worked together on Capitol Hill many years ago now. He was dedicated, principled and kind then, and remained so through all the years I knew him. He will be missed.


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