Advocacy plays a critical role in ensuring those we elect to represent us at the federal, state, and local levels are well-informed of the numerous benefits of the recycling industry, and the essential role it plays in the economy and environment.

ISRI Pacific Northwest Chapter President Sean Daoud serves as Vice President & Treasurer of ISRI member PNW Metal Recycling, Inc., a ferrous and nonferrous metals recycling facility.

Scrap News recently spoke with Sean about the advocacy efforts he’s taken part in on behalf of the industry.

Tell us about your work with your state legislators on behalf of the industry.

For several years I’ve been an officer for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Chapter and have been actively involved with our lobbyist and member companies keeping track of legislative items that could impact our industry in states the PNW Chapter represents. I’ve also attending several ISRI fly-ins to represent the membership in D.C. This includes shaping bills or providing insight as to why bills are not necessary. We’ve had great success in the PNW Chapter because of our active membership and leadership.

Why did you feel that reaching out to your elected officials was important?

It is important to be heard and to have a voice at the table when shaping laws and regulations that directly impact our industry. Often legislators are not aware of the positive impact our industry has on multiple aspects of the states they represents and it is important to provide insight into that. Our industry is also heavily regulated through multiple agencies and it takes our members a lot of work to stay current with any law or regulation, so further explanation of those efforts to legislators can give a better perspective. The more we communicate and the more often we’re heard, the better the chances are that we will be well supported by our legislators. 

What are benefits of getting involved with ISRI chapter advocacy efforts? 

Knowledge is an invaluable commodity and when a member is involved they’re given a ton of knowledge that can help their business. It also provides support to the chapter or committee with access to more experiences and brain power to provide the best approach of how to handle situations that arise. This is one of the most important and beneficial benefits of being an ISRI member.

Can you provide an example of when you witnessed the direct impacts of yours or ISRI’s advocacy efforts at either the state, federal or local level?

A few years back our Washington State Lobbyist, Holly Chisa, and many members from that state met with the Department of Ecology to help craft language for a bill that would clearly identify recyclers as non-hazardous waste operators. It took many personal meetings, phone calls, and interviews from all involved but it was clear that the advocacy process and education ISRI members provided helped Ecology understand the positive impact our industry has on the environment and that more regulation would impede on our ability to operate effectively.

What is a good starting point for those looking to connect with their elected officials? How do you think ISRI can assist?

For those who want help, connecting with their local chapter president and asking how they can help or get involved will be a great way to start. Having a cohesive legislative approach is critical for chapters and its members because of how many companies our messaging will impact. While members need to do what is best for their company, if we can act as ONE ISRI to positively impact all, we need to take that mindset and approach.

ISRI represents members at the federal, state, and local community levels. This gives a lot of territory to cover and a lot of opportunity for involvement for members.

Any additional thoughts? 

To further comment on the above ONE ISRI, our association represents multiple general commodity groups and our leaders have a lot to be responsible for. Sometimes those leaders are not aware of issues with another commodity they do not have direct experience with, so having as many members help with awareness and crafting legislative approaches is key to make sure every ISRI member is positively represented.

ISRI has a strong voice and when member companies unite for a common message, there are very few voices larger than ISRI’s. We’re the voice of the recycling industry and anyone who recycles should be a part of it!