Coatings manufacturers have won a temporary reprieve in an impending federal rule that will increase requirements for recycling hazardous materials.
The Environmental Protection Agency has granted a request by the American Coatings Association for a 30-day extension of the comment period for the Definition of Solid Waste Proposed Rule. The comment deadline is now Oct. 20, 2011.
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|The proposed rule requires solvent recyclers to meet certain conditions before qualifying for exclusions.|
EPA announced in July that it was proposing revisions to the 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule in response to a settlement agreement with the Sierra Club stemming from a lawsuit in 2010.
The 2008 rule affected 5,600 facilities that annually handle some 1.5 million tons of hazardous secondary materials—mainly, metals and solvents.
The new rule will revise certain exclusions from the definition of solid waste for hazardous secondary materials that are transferred from the generator to other parties for reclamation. That change follows EPA’s determination that the 2008 DSW final rule had “serious gaps” that posed risks to human health and the environment from discarded wastes.
“EPA’s new analyses of potential hazards posed by the 2008 DSW final rule indicate that, when implemented, the transfer-based exclusion may pose significant risk to human health and the environment from hazardous secondary material that may become discarded,” the proposed revision says.
The agency’s analysis identified 218 recycling damage cases and found that more than half involved a hazardous secondary material that was excluded or exempted from the 2008 regulations.
“…Based on new EPA analyses, EPA believes that in most cases, hazardous secondary materials transferred to another party for reclamation are discarded and are best regulated” under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976.
Subtitle C established a federal program to manage hazardous wastes from cradle to grave.
‘More Expensive and Onerous’
ACA, which represents coating manufacturers, “is closely following and engaged in the process of this rule development as it will likely create further burdens on manufacturers by making recycling hazardous materials more expensive and onerous,” the association said in a statement.
“In general, the new rule adds increased oversight, including notification and recordkeeping requirements for all hazardous secondary material recycling activities for companies that recycle on-site or within the same company, and stricter standards for companies that recycle off-site.”
Crackdown on ‘Sham Recycling’
The new proposal retains the exclusion from the 2008 DSW rule regarding hazardous secondary materials that are legitimately reclaimed under the control of the generator, but EPA is adding notification and reporting requirements for the exclusion.
The new rule contains a provision to determine which recycling activities are legitimate under the new exclusions and non-waste determinations to prevent “sham recycling.” These exclusions are not available for materials that are considered inherently waste-like, used in a manner constituting disposal, or burned for energy recovery.
New Solvents Requirements
EPA is also creating a new, focused exclusion for certain types of hazardous secondary materials that are re-manufactured into commercial-grade products, which include solvents, to encourage sustainable materials management. The proposal requires recyclers to meet certain conditions before qualifying for the exclusion and lists 18 designated solvents that will fall under this new exclusion.
EPA is hosting two public hearings on the DSW Proposed Rule: one on Sept. 12 in Philadelphia and one on Sept. 15 in Chicago.