The Department of Homeland Security has updated its "Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response" to include recyclers, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington. However, the words "recyclers" or "recycling" are not specifically mentioned in the document.
ISRI says the new wording was in response to its letter to Vice President Pence last week, as well as to similar letters from others.
Because many states and localities are relying on these federal guidelines, ISRI says it is important for recyclers to be aware of this change.
Under the heading “Critical Manufacturing,” the guidance states: “Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains and for supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services and the defense industrial base. Additionally, workers needed to maintain the continuity of these manufacturing functions and associated supply chains.”
ISRI says this new wording recognizes that manufacturing is dependent on manufacturers' ability to obtain feedstock for their operations. Recyclers are essential businesses that supply critical raw materials to keep manufacturers in operation.
The association says, “Recycled metal, paper, plastics and other commodity-grade materials feed critical U.S. manufacturing operations that are producing the rebar, wiring, tubing, transportation, packaging and other key materials that are needed for everything from construction of new hospitals to the manufacture of new hospital beds, ventilators, toilet paper and other essential supplies needed to keep Americans safe and the economy running during this critical period.”
ISRI has prepared a number of resources designed to help its members respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, including a document, "Talking Points: Recycling: Part of Essential Critical Infrastructure, March 24, 2020," to help provide recyclers with the arguments necessary to demonstrate the important role recyclers have in the manufacturing supply chain.
As each state has issued its own guidelines on what it considers essential businesses allowed to operate, ISRI says its Assistant Counsel Danielle Waterfield has reached out to members in the state to provide necessary information. The association welcomes members in states that have issued guidance but who have not yet heard from Waterfield to contact her at Dwaterfield@isri.org.
In addition, ISRI is maintaining a COVID-19 State and Local Policy Dashboard that aggregates emergency declarations, executive orders and other sources of official information for all 50 states, as well as from many local jurisdictions by population.
ISRI also has prepared a listing of available information on state financial aid responses, changes to unemployment requirements for employers and employees, tax filing changes and other actions implemented to help local businesses weather the outbreak.
Finally, the association has developed guidelines to help members operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. ISRI reminds its members that businesses are allowed to operate during this period with the understanding that they will adhere to all requirements on maximizing remote work and observing necessary precautions prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state and local authorities to protect workers and their families.