Recycling Product News Logo

ISRI's Robin Wiener addresses U.S. House Recycling Caucus on current state of recycling

U.S. recycling industry employs more than 164,000 Americans, generating $110 billion in economic activity and $13 billion in tax revenue

0168/41843_en_e12d7_42506_isri-logo-4.jpg

Company info

1250 H Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, DC
US, 20005

Website:
isri.org

Read more

On September 24th, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) briefed the Recycling Caucus on The State of U.S. Recycling. Hosted by Recycling Caucus Co-Chairs, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), the event focused on the many of the economic and environmental benefits of recycling while addressing how changes to global environmental and trade policies are changing the industry's landscape.

In addition to ISRI, the event brought together other key stakeholders including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DC Public Works, Southeast Recycling Development Council, The Recycling Partnership, and the Paper Recycling Coalition. 

Below are excerpts from ISRI President Robin Wiener's remarks before the Caucus:

"Recycling in the United States is an important economic engine and job creator. The recycling industry directly employs more than 164,000 Americans in jobs averaging $73,000 in wages and benefits annually, while generating $110 billion in economic activity and $13 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue.

"These numbers tell the story of a strong U.S. recycling industry, but not one without challenges in key segments of the industry. To understand those challenges, it is important to first understand what makes for successful recycling:

• Successful recycling requires market demand ... if there is no end market to utilize the recyclable materials that are collected, they will not move, regardless of the volume of material collected. And collection without consumption is not recycling.

• Successful recycling requires minimal contamination as recyclables are products sold by grade, with corresponding value and marketability directly related to quality.

• Recycling in the U.S. involves far more than what is placed in the blue bin, or cart, at the end of the driveway. While residential collection programs may be the most visible part of America's recycling infrastructure, it represents less than 30% of the volume of material recycled in our country. The other 70% comes from the recycling of commercial and industrial materials that tends to be cleaner, and therefore can be processed to higher grades with greater marketability."

Wiener continued, "The recycling infrastructure in the U.S. touches almost every part of our economy - from retail stores, office complexes, residential neighborhoods, and schools to factories, construction and demolition sites, and even military bases. And the vast majority of the recyable material that flows through the infrastructure does so without any problems, and is transformed by recyclers into clean, high quality, commodity grade product.

"What makes the residential stream so different is that while it is subject to the same demand driven end market, it is saddled with an ever changing and heterogeneous mix of materials on the supply side, and that material flows into the stream whether there is a market for it or not. This sets the residential recycling infrastructure apart from commercial and industrial recycling in the U.S., and that is why it demands a unique approach.

"It is critical that all stakeholders must work together to develop a common understanding of the weaknesses affecting the residential stream, and then work together to develop the menu of solutions that need to be put in place. And that is where the work of the EPA over the last year comes into play. EPA's America Recycles Stakeholder Dialogue has worked to bring us all together, and it is the reason why ISRI is so heavily invested in it. Successful recycling requires a focus on education, quality, demand growth, and market access; and we are pleased to be working with EPA on all these issues.

"I also want to applaud the Department of Energy for the work they are doing to help support innovation in recycling. ISRI is proud to be a member of the DOE's REMADE Institute, a multi-year, $50 million effort initiated two years ago to drive advanced manufacturing within the U.S. This effort will provide new opportunities for the use of recyclable materials in manufacturing and also a greater focus on Design for Recycling.

"It may surprise people to know that recycling plays such an important role in advanced manfacturing, but the reason that DOE is doing this is in part because they recognize the value not only of recycling but of recyables, which goes to the myth I want to break this afternoon, and that is that recyables are wastes, and that the only reason why they are recycled is to avoid the alterantive of throwing them away. The truth is that these materials are not waste.

"Whether called "scrap," "recyclable materials," or "secondary materials," they are valuable commodities sold and sought after in the global marketplace by industrial consumers - including steel mills, metal refiners, foundries, paper mills, plastic formulators, and others - for the manufacture of new consumer and industrial products. The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) estimates that more than 40% of manufacturers' raw material needs around the world are met through the recycling of obsolete, off-spec, and end-of-life products and materials.

"Worldwide, more than 800 million metric tons of recyclable materials are consumed each year by manufacturers. And just like coffee, crude oil, and other commodities, the movement of recyclables is driven by the demand needs of consumers in the U.S. and around the globe with the U.S. playing a major role in this global market, selling $20 billion worth of scrap to manufacturers in more than 150 different countries."

More from Industry News

Willmar High School Manufacturing and Production (MAP) class tours Rotochopper facility

Now in its second year, the Manufacturing and Production (MAP) class from Willmar High School recently toured the Rotochopper facility as part of their final day with West Central Steel, Inc. In addition to ten students enrolled in the class, the group included teachers, staff and business leaders that support the program. The day started at Rotochopper with a facility tour, which was followed by visits to a steel mill and a job site. 

Tweed and TerraCycle celebrate over one million pieces of cannabis packaging collected for recycling

It's a green thumbs up for Tweed | TerraCycle. The country's first and largest cannabis packaging recycling program, launched in October 2018, has achieved incredible results in its first year of operations. Today, the Tweed | TerraCycle program celebrates a significant milestone with the collection of over one million pieces of used cannabis packaging from across the nation - recycling over 22,000 pounds of plastic containers, tubes, and bottles.

Politicians need to tackle plastics pollution, according to Friends of the Earth poll

As we approach the 2019 Canadian federal election, Friends of the Earth Canada has a message for politicians. According to the organization, the electorate wants action to stop plastics pollution: 86% of Canadians want politicians to take more action on plastics as a way of reducing climate harmful greenhouse gases. And 8 out 10 Canadians will support politicians to ban production and use of single-use disposable plastic containers and packaging.

Renewable energy isn’t enough to tackle climate change - what else can the circular economy do?

As leaders from around the world gather in New York for Climate Week NYC, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with Material Economics, has launched Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change. The paper reveals the need for a fundamental shift in the global approach to tackling climate change.

Call2Recycle becomes an e-Stewards Enterprise partner

Call2Recycle®, the first and largest consumer battery recycling program, which operates in the U.S. and Canada, is proud to announce their renewed commitment to responsible hazardous waste disposal by joining the e-Stewards® Enterprise program.  e-Stewards Enterprise partners commit to making best efforts to use e-Stewards Certified Recyclers and Refurbishers, who operate to the highest industry standard for the management of end-of-life electronic assets and materials under their control.  

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Recycle BC responds to CBC Marketplace report suggesting B.C. has a recycling problem

At the end of September, CBC's Marketplace aired a story exposing the challenges related to plastics recycling in British Columbia. As part of the story, Marketplace executed one-time, business-to-business transactions with three waste management companies for the recycling of bales of soft plastics. The report described outcomes, whether material was recycled, incinerated or landfilled, and suggested that the three companies involved (Merlin Plastics, GFL and Waste Connections Canada) are an accurate representation of how materials are handled in B.C.

BASF ChemCycling process uses post-consumer plastic waste to produce virgin grade material

ChemCycling is the name of a new pilot project, being undertaken in partnership with Mondi, the global packaging and paper group, and COROOS, a food-industry supplier, by which Germany-based chemical producer BASF is further developing their process for the chemical recycling of plastic waste. Plastic waste that is difficult to recycle, such as mixed or contaminated plastics, is converted into a pyrolysis oil through thermochemical processes. This secondary raw material can be used as input in BASF's production process, thereby partly replacing fossil resources, to manufacture numerous chemical products. 

Canada ranks at top of Sensoneo analysis for countries with the worst waste management

Sensoneo, a provider of smart, enterprise-grade waste management solutions operating in 40 countries worldwide, has ranked OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries according to the environmental impact of their waste management. The findings aim to hold the world's largest polluters accountable for their actions and push for investment in waste management techniques that prioritize the health of our planet. 

Timken acquires BEKA Lubrication

The Timken Company has reached an agreement to acquire BEKA Lubrication for approximately $165 million. The company serves a diverse range of industrial sectors including wind, food and beverage, rail, on- and off-highway and other process industries. BEKA sales are expected to be around $135 million for the full year 2019.

Recycling sector has potential to contribute $1.4 billion to Alberta economy

Alberta's recycling sector generated $700 million in economic value in 2018, as well as supporting over 7,500 direct jobs, a new analysis has found. The analysis also highlights the potential to increase this contribution in future to $1.4 billion in economic value, and to 13,000 jobs. In addition to the benefits to the Alberta economy, materials collected in Alberta that are processed and utilized in neighbouring jurisdictions provide additional jobs in those areas which were not included in the study. 

iNEMI’s Value Recovery project demonstrates a circular economy for hard disk drives

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI)has announced the publication of a report by the consortium's Value Recovery from Used Electronics project participants describing how the project successfully used end-of-life hard disk drives (HDDs) to demonstrate a viable process toward the development of a multi-stakeholder circular economy. 

SCS' David Hostetter receives 2019 Engineering Leaders Under 40 Award

Control Engineering is a publication for automation engineers who design, implement, maintain, and manage control/instrumentation systems, components, and equipment for a wide range of industries and manufacturers. The magazine's Engineering Leaders Under 40 Program recognizes professionals under the age of 40 who are making a significant contribution as control and plant engineering professionals. 

Recycling industry continues to be a powerful force in U.S. Economy according to study

Recycling continues to power the American economy based on a new study conducted by John Dunham and Associates and released by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). In addition to its positive environmental benefits, the recycling industry is responsible for more than 531,500 jobs and an overall economic impact of nearly $110 billion.

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

Petro-Canada Lubricants introduces new heavy-duty and driveline oils

Petro-Canada Lubricants, a HollyFrontier business, has expanded its TRAXON and DURON product lines with the launches of DURON Advanced 5W-30 and TRAXON Synthetic 75W-85. The introduction of the new oils demonstrate continued product innovation from Petro-Canada Lubricants to help fleets meet new and emerging market trends.

Stellex Capital Management to sell Morbark to Alamo Group

Stellex Capital Management, a middle market private equity firm, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell Morbark, LLC,  the manufacturer of high-performance equipment and after-market parts for the forestry, recycling, tree care, sawmill, land clearing and biomass markets, to Alamo Group for $352 million. The sale includes all assets and operations of Morbark and its affiliate brands. 

Government of Canada invests in solutions to recycle fibreglass boats

The Government of Canada says it is dedicated to protecting Canada's land and waterways from plastic waste and marine litter. According to a recent press release, there are currently few options for recycling and disposing of boats made of fibreglass. As a result, most of these boats end up in a landfill, or worse, abandoned on land or in the water. 

New report from SWANA provides options for curbside recycling programs

An important new report issued by the Solid Waste Association of North America's (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF) provides a number of significant observations and insights regarding the impacts of China's National Sword Policy on curbside recycling programs in the United States and Canada, and the resets that can be made to address them.

Recycling Partnership offers online tool to help clarify recyclable materials messaging

The Recycling Partnership has announced the public beta launch of DIYSigns, the debut of a free online resource that anyone can use to help people know what to throw into their recycling bins. Whether at home, at the office, at school, at a sports stadium, or anywhere, education is needed to show what is recyclable and where.

EREF of Canada to hold silent auction at Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo in October

After the success of last year's inaugural event in Canada, the Environmental Research & Education Foundation of Canada (EREF-CA) is excited to once again hold its Silent Auction, October 9 and 10, at the Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo (CWRE) in Toronto, Ontario. Proceeds from this event, which is being held in partnership with the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), support solid waste research needs in Canada.

Global ban on exporting hazardous waste to developing countries becomes law

Croatia's 6th of September deposit of ratification of the 1995 Basel Ban Amendment has allowed this global waste dumping prohibition to finally enter into the force of international law. The Ban Amendment, adopted by the parties to the Basel Convention in 1995, prohibits, the export of hazardous wastes from member states of the European Union, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Liechtenstein to all other countries.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Micron Waste receives Health Canada Cannabis Research License

Micron Waste Technologies Inc., a leading developer of waste treatment systems for cannabis and food waste, has announced that it has received a Health Canada Cannabis Research License to develop its aerobic waste digester technology for the treatment of cannabis waste. The license, effective for five years commencing August 23, 2019, will be used to further develop the world's first waste treatment system that alters and denatures cannabis waste while recovering reusable water. The Company's R&D team, led by Chief Technology Officer and Founder Dr. Bob Bhushan, will employ the new license to accelerate and expand the cannabis waste and wastewater programs, both through its industry-leading Cannavore waste processing system and through its developing facility wastewater management program at the Micron Waste Innovation Centre in Delta, BC.

ArcelorMittal Long Products Canada to acquire Quebec recycler Legault Métal

ArcelorMittal Long Products Canada announced that it is acquiring the assets of Legault Métal Inc., a metals recycling company with facilities in Trécesson, Val d'Or, Rouyn-Noranda and La Sarre, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Quebec, Canada). These sites, which will now operate under the name Legault Métal, a division of ArcelorMittal, will continue to deliver its services to scrap dealers and individuals.

China’s latest tariff announcement affects scrap commodities

In apparent retaliation to the U.S. Administration's recent announcement of tariffs on Chinese products to begin in September and December, the Chinese government announced last week its intent to levy additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of goods from the United States. These tariffs add on to those already in place from announcements in 2018.

Subscribe to our free magazine

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more