-NWRA Staff
November 30, 2020

NWRA Urges Governors to Accept Vaccine Distribution Guidance for Waste and Recycling Industry

Calls on Governors to Include Specialty Medical Waste Workers in Distribution with Healthcare Workers

Arlington, VA – The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) sent letters to the nation’s governors urging them to follow guidance from the Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to include the waste and recycling industry as a part of their states’ vaccine distribution plans, including specialty medical waste workers who provide collection and management services within healthcare settings.

“The waste and recycling industry provides a critical service that is essential to preventing the spread of disease and illness in society. The delivery of these services impacts all healthcare, residential, commercial and industrial properties on a daily basis, necessitating them to receive prioritization,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. “We also have member companies that provide services for the healthcare sector, picking up and managing medical waste and sharps waste. They go into hospitals, emergency rooms, long-term care facilities and doctors’ offices as well as pharmaceutical and research facilities. We believe these specialty waste workers providing services within these healthcare settings should receive the vaccine immediately following its distribution to primary healthcare workers.”

NWRA has consistently advocated for the waste and recycling industry to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after healthcare workers. At the request of NWRA, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Administration classified waste collection workers as “essential” under five different “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” categories.

NWRA previously sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the agency to accept the recommendation of the ACIP that essential workers, as identified by DHS, should receive a COVID-19 vaccine after healthcare workers.

Waste and recycling workers were also placed on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s COVID-19 vaccine priority list in response to a request from NWRA.


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