Every industry faces unique economic stressors, legislative obstacles and navigational hurdles that it needs to overcome so that its participating members and companies can thrive. The construction and demolition recycling industry is no exception.
The key to overcoming these challenges is having a unified voice that helps advocate for the industry’s best interests. For C&D recyclers in the U.S., the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) is this advocate. Of course, forward progress doesn’t happen by divine intervention. It takes industry members devoting their time, energy and resources to allow incremental change to take place.
While the demands of both professional and personal obligations can make volunteering for an association a difficult ask, it is this involvement that helps elevate the interests of C&D recyclers.
Terry Weaver, president of USA Gypsum and immediate past president of the CDRA, serves as an example of someone who has worked to advance the causes of the CDRA and its membership despite the sacrifices it entails.
As a CDRA officer, Weaver advanced in roles of increasing responsibility from treasurer to vice president before being named the association’s president. Along the way, he led the association in pushing for the development of end markets, lobbying for favorable legislation for recyclers, and growing the member base of the association as a whole.
Weaver simultaneously led the association as president as the industry worked to overcome unprecedented COVID-related material shortages and operational shutdowns that threatened businesses from coast to coast.
Weaver says that although many C&D recyclers have rebounded from the initial shocks of the pandemic, there are still challenges that recyclers are fighting to overcome.
While he is bullish on the circular economy model, extended producer responsibility (EPR), waste bans, and consumer preference for recycling to favor the industry in the long run, more work needs to be done to help ensure C&D recycling remains robust in the near term.
“Most C&D recyclers I talk to are close to pre-COVID volumes, but are struggling to hire qualified help and manage cost increases. Resuming pre-COVID volume also brings back into focus the need for end markets of recovered materials, and the CDRA is actively researching alternative outlets,” he says. “As the only association focused solely on C&D recycling, the CDRA has an important role to play in helping the industry navigate rapid changes in the business environment. Advocating for C&D recycling under the new administration’s focus on labor law, climate change, social justice and infrastructure presents challenges which the CDRA is uniquely positioned to address.”