On Sept. 9, California withdrew its proposed emergency action that targeted the state’s recycling industry, specifically shredder operations. It was withdrawn due to overwhelming concerns expressed by all sectors of the metal recycling industry including ISRI, which submitted comments on behalf of its members Sept. 7.
In September 2014, the California legislature enacted SB 1249, requiring the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to evaluate and regulate metal shredding facilities to ensure adequate protection of human health and the environment. In its final report, completed in August, DTSC claimed there was confusion regarding regulation of metal shredder output in California because the definition of “scrap metal” was unclear and the distinction between California-regulated and federally-regulated scrap metal was ambiguous.
DTSC’s proposed rulemaking would have amended title 22, California Code of Regulations, division 4.5, sections 66260.10, 66261.6, and 66273.9. DTSC claimed amending the state’s definition of “scrap metal” to align with the federal definition would clarify the term, remove duplicative language, and detail when scrap metal is exempt from hazardous waste requirements when recycled. However, the rule would have wrongfully classified shredders as hazardous waste treatment facilities. ISRI and its West Coast Chapter quickly began advocating on behalf of recyclers throughout California. ISRI is grateful for the support of the steel industry, which backed and assisted its advocacy efforts.
In its comments, ISRI disputed DTSC’s untenable claims that metal processing operations conducted by shredding facilities create an emergency situation. The association detailed the effects that such a rule could have, including the devastating impacts on tens of thousands of jobs supported by the recycling industry, and significant ripple effects not only in the U.S. manufacturing supply chain—of which recycling is the first link—but also in local governments and communities throughout the state.
ISRI and its members also highlighted the many inaccuracies in DTSC’s claim that the emergency regulations were merely intended to align the state’s regulation of shredding facilities with the federal regulatory scheme.
“This outcome proves once again the strength of One ISRI,” states Adina Renee Adler, ISRI’s vice president of advocacy. “Congratulations to all involved. We are proud to be your association.”