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NWRA highlights 2019 as a banner year for waste and recycling

Association achieved significant policy goals as well as identified opportunities to make the industry safer

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The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) released its annual report this month, highlighting accomplishments from 2019. According to the NWRA, the association achieved significant policy goals as well as identified multiple opportunities to make the industry safer.

"I am proud of our team and our accomplishments in 2019. We are an advocacy organization determined to achieve tangible results for the proud industry we represent and we did that last year," stated Darrell Smith, NWRA President and CEO. "We set a high standard for ourselves and I look forward to continuing that momentum into 2020."


  • Hours of Service / Electronic Logging Devices - FMCSA granted NWRA a rare Hours-of-Service exemption exclusively to NWRA members that eliminates the need for them to use ELDs as otherwise is required under new rules now in effect. This is estimated to save our members nearly $120 million over two years. Having the name of an association written into a regulatory mandate is nearly unheard of in the public policy arena.  
  • Tax Extenders - Congress passed and President Trump signed an extension of the tax credits for the use of alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, the creation of alternative fuel refueling infrastructure, and facilities producing energy from renewable resources through the end of 2020. NWRA has been aggressively lobbying for passage of tax extenders since prior to their expiration.
  • USMCA Trade Agreement - The House of Representatives passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) supported by NWRA. Senate passage is expected in January.
  • National "Move Over" - NWRA Chairman Ben Harvey provided testimony on behalf of the association to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's Highways and Transit Subcommittee for their hearing on "Every Life Counts: Improving the Safety of our Nation's Roadways." Federal legislation aimed at reducing roadside deaths and establishing a public safety program to raise awareness of "Move Over" laws was introduced in the House and Senate.
  • Slow Down to Get Around - SDTGA was signed into law in Minnesota and California. Thanks to the hard work of our chapters, these laws now cover our industry in 30 states.
  • Recycling - NWRA, along with others, jointly developed the Think Twice poster in an effort to help consumers recycle properly.


  • OSHA and NWRA entered into an alliance agreement to promote workplace safety.
  • NWRA redesigned Safety Monday to incorporate key perspectives from the people who work in the industry every day to include drivers, supervisors, safety professionals and NWRA members' executive suites.
  • NWRA participated in Safe + Sound Week 2019 with OSHA.
  • NWRA released its Waste, Construction, Demolition, and Recycling Material Recovery Facility Temporary Worker Recommended Practices guide.
  • NWRA requested and received clarification on behalf of its Florida members from FMCSA on the use of "Curotto Cans" with regard to headlight and turn signals after Florida enacted a law eliminating the statutory provision exempting waste and recycling vehicles.

Association Governance:

  • NWRA ended the 2019 fiscal year with a record budget surplus.
  • NWRA's Services Board of Governors elected Waste Management's Lisa Disbrow as their chair, the first woman to serve in this capacity and as a member of the association's Board of Trustees.
  • EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler joined Darrell Smith during the America Recycles Day Summit to honor waste and recycling industry employees for their service in the military. More than 20 veterans from NWRA member companies representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and National Guard received a challenge coin specially designed for the event.
  • NWRA partnered with Orion Talent to provide direct access to military veteran job seekers for association members, enable member organizations to direct market to the military talent community, and leverage accredited training programs that help employers learn best practices for the hiring and retention of veterans.
  • NWRA developed and released an infographic highlighting the size and significance of the waste and recycling industry to the domestic economy.
  • NWRA jointly developed and released documents with SWANA recommending a major shift in the process states use to determine when closed municipal solid waste landfills are ready to end post-closure care.
  • The NWRA Women's Council released an Internship Toolkit to assist member companies with the development of internship programs. 
  • The Women's Council awarded five scholarships in the amount of $7,000 each to assist qualified individuals in their pursuit of an education that will lead to productive careers in the environmental industry. 
  • NWRA's Colorado Chapter changed its name to the Rocky Mountain Chapter so as to represent the interests of NWRA members in the neighboring states of Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Awards and Recognition:

  • NWRA was awarded the American Society of Association Executives' 2019 "Power of (A)" Silver Award for its multi-year Slow Down to Get Around legislative advocacy campaign. 
  • Darrell Smith was recognized by DCA Live as the leader of one of Washington D.C.'s most innovative and fastest growing associations. Smith was honored for demonstrating exceptional performance in advancing NWRA's missions in 2019.
  • The Hill newspaper named NWRA Chief Counsel & Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Jim Riley to their 2019 list of Washington, D.C.'s top lobbyists
  • Darrell Smith, Chief Operating Officer and Sr. Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Anne Germain, and Jim Riley addressed Brazil's International Solid Waste Management Event in São Paulo on the "History and Development of the Sector in the United States" as well as recycling in the U.S.
  • Chief of Staff and Vice President of Safety & Standards Kirk Sander was selected as a Consensus Body member for the Continuous Maintenance process of ANSI-GBI 01-2019: Green Globes Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings.

According to a NWRA statement, 2020 brings numerous opportunities and challenges for the waste and recycling sector: "NWRA will never hesitate to advocate on behalf of the industry so that our members can prosper and provide safe, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible services and jobs that benefit communities throughout America."

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