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DHS Designates Waste Collection as "Essential Critical Infrastructure"

DHS Image DHS Designates Waste Collection as "Essential Critical Infrastructure"
At the request of NWRA, DHS has designated solid waste collection workers as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) thanks the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for recognizing solid waste collection workers as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. This designation comes after NWRA sent a letter to DHS Secretary Chad Wolf requesting the designation. 

DHS designated the industry under its Public Works category:

  • Support to ensure the effective removal, storage and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste.

And under its Transportation and Logistics category:

  • Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions and services.

While most other professions were grouped together on a single line, it is especially telling that waste collection received its own language in two separate sections.

“This is a major win for the waste industry and for the advocacy program at NWRA. I am proud of my staff for remaining at their posts during this national crisis and providing support to our members. We do in fact represent a critical industry, and the NWRA staff have been working overtime to ensure that government rules and regulations do not impede the industry’s efforts to protect public health. We extend our thanks to DHS for recognizing the vital role of the waste industry,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith in a statement.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) also sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting that all recycling operations across the U.S. be designated “essential” to public health and welfare, as well as to the nation’s economic infrastructure. This designation from DHS, however, does not include recycling operations.

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