Georgia, Indiana, and Tennessee are the three latest states to join Massachusetts and Alabama in commending the recycling industry and its workers for their essential role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introduced in the House by more than five representatives, Georgia’s resolution passed Feb 8. It recognizes the Georgia Recyclers Association, the Georgia Recycling Coalition, and ISRI. In Indiana, Rep. Douglas Gutwein introduced his state’s resolution, which recognizes ISRI’s Indiana Chapter, and passed Feb. 9. Rounding out the week, Tennessee’s Rep. William Lamberth introduced a House resolution commending the Tennessee recycling industry, the Tennessee Scrap Recyclers Association, and ISRI, which passed Feb. 10.
Like the Massachusetts and Alabama resolutions before them, the three states’ resolutions all acknowledge the essential role of a broad range of recycled commodities—including steel, paper, electronics, aluminum, plastics, textiles, tires, and glass—in supplying manufacturers during the pandemic and in their use as feedstock for vital products like hospital gowns, toilet paper, and respirators. They also recognize recyclers’ role in supplying used auto parts, which allow drivers to access affordable repairs and maintain reliable transportation.
ISRI members say the effort to have states across the nation pass the resolution and acknowledge the range of commodities the industry processes is important to ISRI’s goal of having a collaborative and cohesive approach as an industry. Chip Koplin, government and public affairs manager for Schnitzer Steel Industries’ Atlanta office and a member of ISRI’s Southeast Chapter, says including the Georgia Recycling Coalition was an important part of the process. GRC focuses largely on promoting curbside and residential recycling—a smaller but significant part of the recycling stream. “In Georgia, we have some of the largest paper recyclers in the country,” he notes.
“We’ve glad to see the state of Indiana recognize the importance of what we do as an industry,” says Jason Grube, president of Rochester Iron & Metal (Rochester, Ind.) and of ISRI’s Indiana Chapter. “Our [resolution] specifically mentions ISRI and all the commodities. I think it’s very pointed and spells out the importance of exactly what it is we’re doing.”
More recyclers in states across the country continue to work with their legislators to pass resolutions of commendation.