• Press Release

ISRI’s 2021 Advocacy Agenda Highlights Industry Opportunities for Growth and Recognition

(Washington, DC) - The importance of recycling has never been greater. Recognizing the essential role of the industry and its immeasurable benefits, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ (ISRI) 2021 Advocacy Agenda highlights ISRI’s proactive engagement on new challenges and opportunities at the local, state, federal, and international levels. In a year unlike any other in recent history – facing a global pandemic, economic downturn, and political uncertainty – ISRI achieved important victories for the recycling industry in 2020 and will continue to prioritize in 2021 key areas where recycling plays an essential role, as highlighted in the Agenda.

“The recycling industry’s pivotal role has perhaps never been more prevalent than it is now,” said ISRI Vice President of Advocacy Adina Renee Adler. “As we look to 2021, advocacy priorities for the industry – market and industry growth, recyclables are not waste, balanced policy, and regulation and safety –elevate the necessity of recycling to achieve a Circular Economy, meet sustainability goals and address climate challenges while also leading to opportunities for unprecedented economic growth in the United States and around the world.”

ISRI continues to promote the essential role of recycling to the U.S. and global manufacturing supply chain by advocating policy and regulatory language that clearly distinguishes recycling from disposal and recyclables from waste; responsible recycling, following best practices, standards, and full compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations; promoting end markets for recyclables through policy incentives (not mandates), free and fair trade, and innovation; and engaging best practices for an inclusive workforce and strong community relationships.

Safety continues to be our industry’s number one priority. ISRI will continue to promote best practices including international recycling standards, OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) and Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) guidelines, and the National Safety Council’s zero roadway deaths by 2050 initiative.

“Despite last year’s many obstacles, the resiliency of the recycling industry once again proved true,” continued Adler. “From gaining the federal government’s essential business designation to the reinforcement that scrap is not waste by China’s import guidance, yesterday’s victories set the stage for today’s recycling industry to flourish.”

Victories from ISRI’s 2020 Advocacy Agenda include:

  • Recognition of recycling operations as essential businesses that supply critical raw materials to keep manufacturers in operation;
  • Victory over excessive demurrage charges through a series of decisions by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) following advocacy efforts by ISRI and its members;
  • Continuation of ISRI’s partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance cooperative program;
  • China’s “Recycled Raw Materials” Import Guidance reinforce Scrap Is Not Waste; and
  • Inclusion of language, provided by ISRI, that properly defines the respective and distinct roles of recycling versus waste management in the overall strategy of our country’s materials management strategy in the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act.

ISRI’s Advocacy Agenda is a living document that is continually updated to reflect ISRI’s achievements and evolving priorities in the policy arena, in accordance with the organization’s mission to serve as the voice of the recycling industry, promoting safe, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible recycling through networking, advocacy, and education.


The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ISRI represents 1,300 companies in 20 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 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 nearly $110 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides more than 500,000 Americans with good jobs.

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