ISRI's 2021 Advocacy Agenda

ISRI’s Advocacy Agenda for 2021 emphasizes four broad issue areas affecting the industry: Recyclables are Not Waste, Market Access and Industry Growth, Policy & Regulation and Responsible Recycling.

Recyclables are Not Waste and Recycling is Not Disposal

Recycling is Essential to the U.S. and global manufacturing supply chain, supplying commodity-grade recyclable metals, paper, plastics, glass and rubber as feedstock for the production of new materials and goods. 

  • Promote language in federal and state law, as well as in international agreements, clearly stating that recyclable materials are not waste and that distinguishes recycling from disposal.

Market Access and Industry Growth Through Promoting Investment and Innovation

Recycling is Essential to the global Circular Economy but requires market access and the removal of artificial trade barriers to ensure that commodity-grade recyclable materials can move to where they are needed most.  Trade aids in the achievement of a successful Circular Economy.

  • Promote free and fair trade and grow access to domestic and global markets through government and consumer relationship-building, market analysis, trade barrier elimination, investment and innovation, and policy compliance.
  • Enforce existing trade laws that promote responsible trade and defend against unfair and illegal trade practices, including inequitable subsidies, illegal trade and improper material handling.
  • Achieve and maintain manufacturing tax exemptions for recyclers that stimulate investment and innovation and allow recyclers to fulfill their essential role in manufacturing.
  • Maintain 100% accelerated depreciation allowance that stimulates investment, efficiency and productivity in recycling operations.
  • Promote post-pandemic economic recovery through continuity of essential business operations, equitable access to stimulus and policies that reduce liability and business interruption.
  • Support public-private R&D with federal funding that leads to advanced manufacturing and recycling technology development.
  • Endorse investment for infrastructure development that creates a 21st century system for all modes of transportation and other infrastructure projects and incentivizes the use of recycled content in development projects. Read ISRI’s Transportation Policy. Read ISRI’s Position Statement Concerning the Use of Rubberized Asphalt in Road Construction. Read Information on Glass Recycling
  • Restore Surface Transportation Board (STB) oversight of scrap transport by revoking the rail exemption for ferrous scrap and give recyclers access to effective remedies against the railroad industry’s current market domination. Read ISRI’s Railroad Transportation Policy Statement
  • Secure authoritative declarations by federal and state agencies that use of recycled crumb rubber in artificial turf is appropriate, as supported by 100+ scientific studies. Read ISRI’s Artificial Turf and Rubber Infill Policy Statement
  • Resume the U.S. Mint’s mutilated coin redemption program and cooperate on developing new testing, inspection and acceptance standards and protocol for an efficient program. Read ISRI’s views on the U.S. Mint’s Mutilated Coin Redemption Program

Policy & Regulation that Encourages Recycling

Successful recycling is dependent upon healthy end markets combined with a quality supply stream.  Measures that inhibit market competition run the risk of actually disincentivizing recycling.

  • Enhance recyclables quality through citizen education and awareness, and the promotion of adherence to the ISRI Specifications.
  • Encourage the increased recyclability of, and recycled content in, manufactured products via partnerships with governments, manufacturers, and the public, inspired by ISRI’s Design for Recycling® (DfR) principles and program.Read ISRI’s Position on Design for Recycling®.
  • Increase government purchases of recyclable products and products made from recycled content directed by the USEPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines and equivalent State guidelines.
  • Oppose well-intentioned policies that interfere with functioning markets and market-based growth, such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems and product prohibitions.Mandated recycled content requirements should be limited to those commodities for which commodity markets do not currently exist, or the markets may be regional in nature and not be economically viable at the point of collection. Read ISRI’s Position on Product Stewardship.
  • Avoid international trade tensions that create market uncertainties and interfere with the manufacturing supply chain.

Responsible Recycling is an Imperative

ISRI promotes recycling that actively follows best practices, standards and full compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations; and engages best practices for an inclusive workforce and strong community relationships.


  • Exempt recycling transactions from Superfund liability on the state level consistent with Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA) for federal Superfund sites. Read ISRI’s SREA Reasonable Care Compliance Program.
  • Promoting and maintaining international recycling standards, such as the Recycling Industry Operating Standard® (RIOS®), R2 and ISO.
  • Reduce chemical reporting burdens and protect against potential improper liability from products and materials containing harmful chemicals that enter recycling streams.
  • Maintain flexibility in federal and state stormwater permits to enable protection of surface water and groundwater quality via site-appropriate measures that are effective, feasible, and economical.

Health & Safety

  • Promote National Safety Council’s zero roadway deaths by 2050 initiative and engage with stakeholders on addressing distracted and impaired driving issues. See how recyclers promote transportation safety.
  • Prevent and mitigate risks from lithium batteries and electric vehicle batteries that enter the recycling stream through engagement with product manufacturers and advocacy with policymakers and the public, including information on safe handling and shipping and preparing for reuse or disposal.
  • Promote OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) and Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) guidelines in support of the industry’s primary commitment to safety.

    Public Outreach

  • On Environmental Justice, as a sustainable industry, ISRI supports the goals of fairness and environmentally responsible recycling operations that work closely with their communities.
  • Collaborate with educational institutions to develop curriculum and train the next generation of recyclers.
  • Advocate policies that incorporate immigrant workers as part of a well-rounded workforce.
  • Maintain the partnership with the OSHA Alliance Cooperative Program to support ISRI’s commitment to workplace safety in the industry.

Streamlined Regulation

  • Promote regulation that is fair, equitably applied and manageable.
  • Streamline NMVTIS reporting to combine with State reporting so as to eliminate double reporting and oppose odometer reporting to increase compliance and ensure effective end of life vehicle (ELV) management.
  • Stop materials theft through effective legislation and outreach initiatives – including greater use of online tools – with law enforcement, prosecutors and local communities for consistent enforcement. Read ISRI’s Position on Recyclable Materials Theft

Have Questions?