NWRA Urges CDC to Include Waste Collection Workers in Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

NWRA Urges CDC to Include Waste Collection Workers in Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) sent a letter today to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the agency to issue guidance in its upcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and to include the waste and recycling industry in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that essential workers, as identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), should receive a COVID-19 vaccine after healthcare workers. Waste collection workers are classified as essential workers and should be included in Phase 1b.

“We applaud the hard work of the CDC, the ACIP and all the men and women dedicated to ensuring that Americans have access to a safe and effective vaccine,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “NWRA has made every effort to provide the necessary resources so that the waste and recycling industry can continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

During this national emergency, at the request of NWRA, DHS’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Administration classified waste collection workers as “essential” under five different “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” categories. Waste and Recycling workers were placed on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s COVID-19 vaccine priority list in response to a request from the Association.

The private sector waste and recycling industry has remained on the job during this crisis. NWRA is asking the CDC to protect waste collection workers as soon as possible to ensure they can continue to operate safely.


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