EPA resolves regulationary uncertainty regarding shredder scrap recycling
WASHINGTON : The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resolved the regulationary uncertainty through a formal interpretation of its recycling rules that will allow more plastics from metal recycling facilities. EPA released a new interpretation which allows plastic scrap containing levels of polychlorinated biphenyls less than 50 parts per million to enter the recycling stream.
At the same time, EPA states that the new interpretation would continue to prevent dangerous levels of PCBs from entering the environment. According to EPA, the interpretation applies to any plastic separated from shredder residue recovered from metals recycling facilities under the conditions described in the Voluntary Procedures for Recycling Plastics from Shredder Residue.
In 2011, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) had sent a letter to EPA requesting clarification about separating plastics from automotive shredder residue (ASR) recovered from metals recycling facilities. The EPA’s clarification is based on the ISRI letter and is in accordance with the recommendation proposed in the letter.
The EPA held a public comment period in 2012 where majority of the comments supported EPA’s interpretation, arguing that it would produce environmental and economic benefits. On April 4, the EPA issued a notice of its interpretation of the regulations that would allow more of the plastics from ASR to become part of the recycling stream.
As per studies conducted by ISRI, around 1 million to 2 million tons of plastic are generated annually in ASR aggregate, most of which could be separated and recycled.