In a recent letter to the vice-president, Mike Pence, the Institute of Scrap Recycling (ISRI), the voice of the recycling industry, had requested National Designation for US Recycling operations to ensure the welfare and health of citizens amid COVID – 19.
On behalf of more than 1.6 lakh workers of the US scrap recycling industry, ISRI sent this letter last week. In the letter, the association appreciated and supported the government’s endeavors towards fighting the abruptly spreading COVID – 19. It also favored the lockdown of “non-essential” businesses; however, urged to label the recycling industry as “essential.” To advocate its request, the association highlighted a few points.
- Referring to recycled products as an essential raw material for multiple US-based manufacturing industries, ISRI called recycling the first link in the supply chain of US manufacturing. According to the letter, from paper to steel, almost all the industries in the US uses recycled products. In the country, around 70% of steel and over three-quarters of paper is manufactured using recycled products.
- ISRI highlighted the recycling industry as a significant contributor to the US economy.
- Justifying recycled products as one of the prime requirements of almost all the commodities manufactured in the US, the association has emphasized the need for continuing recycling operations.
- The association mentioned that shutting down of recycling industry would not only paralyze US manufacturing but also affect public health. Non-functioning of this industry would end up messing the complete residential curbside recycling system.
To control the outbreak of COVID – 19 in America, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had designated several manufacturing industries of the country as “Critical Manufacturing Sector.” As per the department, the sectors crucial for economic prosperity and continuity of the country fall under this category, and their lockdown can disturb the functions required at the national level.
ISRI has contested that similar to these sectors, recycling is also crucial for managing the daily needs of the nation. It stressed on the possibilities of losing a large volume of recyclable commodities in the waste stream if recyclers discontinue their process of collecting recoverable waste.
The letter concluded on the request that the government designate the US recycling operations as “essential” for both – public health and welfare, and nation’s economic infrastructure.