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[greenyes] Redefining Solid Waste Underway....
Redefining Solid Waste Underway....Hmmm...I haven't read this yet, but
thought I should pass it along...

Solid Waste
White House Office Reviews Proposal
Deregulating Waste to Promote Recycling
The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a draft
proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that would revise the
definition of solid waste in order to encourage more recycling.

OMB confirmed it received the draft proposal April 11. The office has 90
days to consider the rule, which is expected to lead to deregulation of some
waste material that is now subject to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

EPA is developing the rule in response to an April 2000 decision by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the applicability
of RCRA rules to waste that is recycled.

In its 2003 regulatory plan published in December, EPA called the
anticipated proposed rule a priority saying it expects its scope to be broad
and to specifically address materials undergoing reclamation (67 Fed. Reg.
74,226, 12/9/02; 11 DEN B-26, 1/16/03) .

Under the RCRA, to be a hazardous waste, a material must also be a solid
waste. EPA's framework for determining whether a material is a solid waste
is based on what the material is and how it is managed, EPA said.

"Generally, we believe that removing the specter of RCRA control where it is
not necessary can spur increased reuse and recycling of hazardous waste, and
will lead to better resource conservation and improved materials management
overall," EPA said.

          'Continuous Industrial Process.'
          In the context of recycling, EPA said it plans to discuss options
for how to make a distinction between materials that are discarded and
materials that remain in use in a continuous industrial process and
anticipates proposing a definition of "continuous industrial process."

          EPA already has taken a step towards deregulating some waste that
is recycled. In March 2002, EPA issued a final rule that exempted mineral
processing wastes slated for recycling from RCRA hazardous waste management
regulations. That notice also announced EPA's intention to issue a separate
proposed rule to revise the agency's definition of solid waste (67 Fed. Reg.
11,251; 49 DEN A-2, 3/13/02)

          The agency's solid waste definition, which determines when wastes
generated during various industrial processes are hazardous and subject to
RCRA rules, has been challenged in court by several industry groups.

          In a major case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit ruled in April 2000 that secondary spent materials from
mineral processes are recyclable materials that are part of ongoing
operations and therefore not subject to hazardous waste management rules,
even when the waste is stored and waiting to be recycled (Ass'n of Battery
Recyclers Inc. v. EPA, 208 F.3d 1047, 50 ERC 1285 (D.C. Cir. 2000); 79 DEN
A-10, 4/24/00).

          Spent materials are those that have been used, and as a result of
contamination, can no longer serve the purpose for which they were produced
without processing, according to EPA.

          Court Said EPA Made Error
          The court ruled EPA erred in saying mineral processing wastes were
solid wastes subject to regulation under RCRA. In its ruling, the court
vacated the portion of a 1998 rule that imposed conditions over mineral
processing characteristic byproducts and sludges being stored before being

          John Skinner, executive director of the Solid Waste Association of
North America, told BNA April 16 the upcoming proposed rule is important
because it will determine under what circumstances waste can be recycled.
SWANA members include solid waste operators in the United States and Canada.

          Depending on EPA's definition, the proposed rule would take some
materials and exempt them from federal solid or hazardous waste
requirements, Skinner said. For the solid waste industry, this means, "for
those materials that are exempt it will be easier to recycle them at lower
cost," he said.

          'A Critically Important Regulation.'
          David Case, director of the Environmental Technology Council, said
the proposed rule will be "a critically important regulation to us." The ETC
is a national organization of environmental service firms that detoxify,
dispose of, and recycle industrial and hazardous waste.

          Case said ETC is concerned EPA's proposed rule might be too broad
and could exempt wastes shipped off-site for recycling. For example, a
chemical waste that could be used as a fuel might be sent elsewhere to be
reprocessed rather than being incinerated.

          "Toxic waste shipped off-site for recycling must be tracked and
properly managed by RCRA," Case said, adding, "I think there will be a big

          Such waste, if exempt from RCRA's system for tracking, storage,
and transportation could pose risks for workers, Case said. In addition,
under the exemption there would be no assurance the waste would be actually
recycled and not illegally dumped, he said

Holly Smithson
Director of Government Affairs
P.O. Box 7219
Silver Spring, MD 20907
(240) 494-2228 (direct line)
(301) 589-7068 (fax)

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