paper recycling bales
Trade associations are lobbying to ensure recycling operations can be considered essential during a epidemic-related national emergency.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

ISRI will lobby to keep recycling plants operating

Trade association has already written Vice President Pence to seek “essential” status for recycling operations.

March 19, 2020

Leonard Zeid, the president of the Paper Stock Industries (PSI) chapter of the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) says the organization is “working aggressively for our industry on the national stage in ways [individual recyclers] could not do alone.”

In a letter addressed to “PSI Members and Paper Industry Associates,” Zeid says the organization submitted a letter March 18 to Vice President Mike Pence “requesting that recycling operations be designated ‘essential’ to public health and welfare, as well as to our nation’s economic infrastructure on the local, state, and national levels.”

Continues Zeid, “Recycling operations must remain open during this crisis, ISRI asserts, because they provide vital resources to the manufacturing and economic sectors.”

He says ISRI is developing talking points for members to use at the state or local level so those governments can be asked to make the same designation.

ISRI joins the Arlington, Virginia-based National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), which made a similar appeal to Congress and the Trump administration in March to include the waste collection industry in the national emergency declaration, thus exempting waste haulers from Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.

NWRA also sent draft legislative language to Congress that would amend federal law to include waste collection haulers in the FMCSA HOS exemption if or when the president declares a national emergency.

Also, Zeid says ISRI joined approximately 75 other organizations March 18 in sending a letter to the White House and congressional leaders calling for:

  • readily accessible, unsecured credit to businesses of all sizes to ensure they have enough cash to pay their workers, rent, and other costs during this crisis;
  • the suspension of the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic and, when the pandemic is over, the repayment of any deferred taxes should be spread out; and
  • amendments to the tax code to, among other items, restore the ability of businesses to carry back any net operating losses against previous year tax payments; suspend the application of the Section 163(j) limitation on interest expense deductions for tax year 2020 to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis; and suspend the Section 461(l) loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow the owners of pass-through businesses to fully deduct losses they incur this year.

In its letter to Pence, ISRI writes in part that “over three-quarters of U.S. paper mills utilize recovered paper from recycling operations for their daily production needs. This supply chain cannot be halted and restarted without significant supply disruptions that would ripple throughout the entire U.S. manufacturing chain."

On the metals side, ISRI comments, “Several of the manufacturing industries that recyclers regularly supply have been officially designated as part of the U.S. ‘Critical Manufacturing Sector’ by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including iron and steel mills and ferrous alloy manufacturing, alumina and aluminum production and processing, and nonferrous metal production and processing.”