NWRA Requests FEMA Prioritize Waste and Recycling Industry with Vendors

NWRA Requests FEMA Prioritize Waste and Recycling Industry with Vendors

Waste Collection Workers Need Protective Equipment as They Continue to Work

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) has sent a request to Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), asking that the agency list waste and recycling as a priority industry with vendors of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“This request is made to continue a high-level of public health not only related to the COVID-19 pandemic but the other numerous public health issues that result when regular waste collection does not occur,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “Our workers are on the frontlines making sure that the waste that is generated during this health crisis is disposed of properly. They cannot do that without the appropriate PPE as indicated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”

This request builds on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designation of solid waste workers as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce:

  • 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

  • as well as under its Transportation and Logistics category:

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

The DHS designation was made in response to requests made by NWRA to the secretary. DHS is the parent agency of FEMA.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association