The Importance of Citizen Advocacy

For many of us, advocacy is something other people do, but citizen advocacy is something all of us should do if we believe in a good cause and in a democratic form of government.

Increasingly, local and state governments decide matters that directly impact recycling, giving local recyclers even more opportunity to have an immediate, concrete impact on final decisions.


Why this matters: Advocacy can't be left to others; it takes the voices of people who work in the scrap recycling industry every day to make certain that our message resonates with policymakers.


Share Who You Are

  • The recycling industry has traditionally operated behind the scenes with little recognition of the good that the industry continues to do over the years. Lobbying ensures that those around you also appreciate the economic and environmental benefits that recycling brings to the community.
    • …few people are closer to the real concerns and needs of the recycling industry than recyclers themselves
    • …you see problems first-hand, you know the needs, and you can put a "human face" on problems to make them real to policymakers


      Help Your Business

  • Some say that lobbying detracts from their businesses
    • but everything that goes into lobbying helps the bottom line –

      …research, the planning, the phone calls, and visits –

  • Policymakers can enact laws that can make or break your company

    …by increasing your visibility and strengthening relationships with government officials you can build public trust and support essential for the industry and your company's future profitability.

  • Through the efforts of ReMA and its collective membership acting together, Congress did what some considered unthinkable – it enacted the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA) in 1999

    …which, perhaps, saved a large portion of the industry from the brink of bankruptcy

  • Today, efforts continue to enshrine these protections at the state level

…including member-led advocacy efforts to change policymaker perceptions on vehicle detitling, materials theft, synthetic turf, and other issues.


Bottom line: The act of telling our policymakers how to write and change our laws is at the very heart of our democratic system. Advocacy has helped to keep America's democracy robust for more than two centuries, and you can learn to be a part of that tradition.


Go deeper: ISRI's Industry Advocates Program (member login required) can help train you and your teammates on the skills necessary to effectively lobby legislators on behalf of the scrap recycling industry. ReMA can also set up group training programs customized for your state and chapter. For more information on the Industry Advocates Program, contact Billy Johnson; for more information on the State / Regional Advocacy Training Program, contact Danielle Waterfield.


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