• Press Release

Herschel Cutler Honored for Leadership in Recycling

ISRI’s first executive director receives Lifetime Achievement Award

(New Orleans, LA) – The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Voice of the Recycling IndustryTM, today recognized Dr. Herschel Cutler, the organization’s first executive director with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Cutler received the award for his commitment to his family, his community, and his many friends and colleagues in the recycling industry.

“Herschel Cutler was more than just a leader, he was the heart and soul of ISRI and the entire recycling industry and a mentor for many of us on staff,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “Herschel fought some of the biggest public policy battles this industry has ever faced, and in many regards saved recycling from regulatory destruction. Without Herschel, the industry would not be the economic driver and global leader it is today. On a personal note, I feel very lucky to have had Herschel as my teacher and friend for so many years. He taught me much of what I know about the industry, and for all that and much, much more, I will be forever grateful.”

Before entering the world of recycling, Cutler received a PhD from Syracuse University. He spent two years in the Army as a general’s aide in Washington, DC before becoming a full-time faculty member at The American University and starting a private consulting practice. His first client was the Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel. In 1971, Cutler was selected as the organization’s new executive director. Immediately, Cutler began to address the industry’s biggest challenges of the 1970s, including discriminatory railroad freight rates burdening ferrous scrap, He also led a fight with parts of the steel industry over ferrous scrap export controls. Herschel’s efforts on the Hill, and in a series of field hearings around the country helped pass legislation and develop regulations that have protected the industry from export controls ever since.

In 1987, the Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel and the National Association of Recycling Industries agreed to merge and to form ISRI. Herschel Cutler was designated as the executive director of the newly formed organization. His guidance and concern helped ISRI through its early growing pains to become the strong and powerful voice of the scrap recycling industry. Throughout the 1990s, Cutler fought for the Superfund Recycling Equity Act, which provides relief to recyclers from the Superfund legislation passed in 1980 that threatened the industry. Under his direction, the recycling industry was able to declare victory in 1999.

“Whatever successes this award credits to me were made possible by the commitment of the members, an incredibly dedicated leadership corps and an amazing staff,” said Dr. Cutler.

In 2001, Herschel retired from ISRI. He stays busy with his three children, and four grandchildren, along with consulting, teaching at Northwestern University, and volunteer activities in his local community. 

The award was presented to Dr. Cutler during ISRI’s annual convention and exposition in New Orleans. It is the largest gathering of recyclers in the world. Also being presented with the award this year is Crawford Carpenter of Caraustar Industries.


The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ISRI represents more than 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and 35 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating more than $105 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs. For more information about ISRI, please visit www.isri.org.

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