Pacific Northwest Chapter President Peter Van Houten and Washington State industry lobbyist Holly Chisa met with members of the Washington Senate and House Committees on Environment and Ways & Means last week.
The meetings were intended to introduce legislators to the industry and ISRI, establish and reinforce existing relationships with legislators and the WA Department of Ecology, and discuss the definition and differentiation of "solid waste" and "recycled materials," as well as other current legislation being considered in the committees.
Several senators and representatives requested yard tours or commented on how they themselves had brought material to be scrapped. However, aside from Rep. Roger Goodman (D - District 45) who is a strong supporter and advocate of ISRI, the legislators indicated their exposure to the industry was primarily through curbside recycling. Meetings with the legislators tended to last 10-15 minutes, after which they were left with folder of information materials from ISRI which were prepared at Peter's request in advance of the meetings. Following the meetings, the legislators all voiced that they would support recycling efforts.
All in all it was a good day, though Peter pointed out that, while it was a productive day engaging and educating legislators on ISRI and our industry, to make it worthwhile these engagements need to be ongoing or legislators may quickly forget. As Chapter President, Peter will also be meeting with Oregon state legislators next week and following up with legislators and members in their districts to coordinate tours. Such meetings are a great way to ensure that policymakers know the industry and are willing to help when recycling legislation arises at the federal, state, or local level. ISRI can help if you are interested in hosting your own outreach. Contact Danielle Waterfield
or Billy Johnson
to learn what resources are available to you.