ISRI Chair Gary Champlin’s Remarks During 2021 ISRI Fall Meetings

This week’s Industry Voices is an excerpt from ISRI Chair Gary Champlin’s remarks during the 2021 ISRI Fall Meetings on Monday, Oct. 18, in Charleston, S.C. The meetings run through Wednesday, Oct. 20. Most of the meetings are open and free for all ISRI members to attend.

Welcome! It’s wonderful being together again, I’m looking forward to a great week. And I do mean week, as the Southeast Region has put together a wonderful meeting that starts right after we finish up on Wednesday. I hope many of you are staying in Charleston with me to attend what should be a very successful convention. A big thank you goes to Barry [Wolff, president, Southeast Region], and the entire Southeast Region Board of Directors.

A lot of important discussions and updates will take place this week, and I want to highlight just a few of them. During the Safe Operations Committee, you’ll hear about a number of important safety updates, including our latest activities to help provide support related to fires to our members.

We’ll also discuss important environmental compliance issues, which are very much an integral part of our industry’s operations. David Wagger, ISRI’s chief scientist, will update everyone on a challenge to the Stormwater Multi-sector General Permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as PFAS issues that are beginning to emerge.

Many of us are facing challenges regarding shipping, whether by rail, truck or ship. Several divisions and committees, including the Ferrous Division and the Trade Committee, will discuss these issues. The Council of Chapter Presidents will discuss some best practices when it comes to commodity diversification on our Boards, as well as the upcoming membership renewal process, which of course will be a major focus of the Membership Committee meeting that follows. California’s latest move to define what is and isn’t recyclable will be one of the important subjects discussed during the Plastics Division meeting. This topic has implications beyond plastics.

This time two years ago during our opening Board and Committee meetings in Portland, Robin [Wiener, ISRI president] initiated a discussion centered around the challenge of global market access resulting from governments struggling with how to differentiate recyclables from waste and so called “good players” from “bad players” for the purpose of allowing exports across their borders. As a result of that discussion, the Board recommended a group of members get together and explore options, including possible voluntary standards. That group – our Market Access Working Group – will be presenting a draft export certification program during the Trade Committee meeting. I urge anyone with interest in the global trade of recyclables to attend that meeting. Government Relations will follow that meeting by discussing various topics including the upcoming NCSL Legislative Summit in Tampa, community engagement, and tax policy.

There will be lots of other important meetings and discussions taking place throughout the week, so please join us for as many of them as you can!