ORLANDO, Fla. The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency has published its final
interpretation of regulations that would allow the recycling of
plastics recovered from scrap metal shredder residue.
The interpretation generally
allows the recycling of such plastics under certain conditions
specified in a voluntary procedural guide. The conditions rely
principally on regulatory provisions for excluded
polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) products.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling
Industries, Washington, previously estimated that the move
could trigger around $1 billion in equipment spending and $250
million in construction, generating 20,000 new jobs and $1.1
billion in gross earnings.
The EPA called for comments on
its proposal to open shredder residue to the recovery of some
plastics after it was approached by ISRI (
amm.com, Jan. 11). Some environmental groups
challenged the interpretation (
amm.com, Jan. 24), but after review the EPA has
decided to adopt its proposed interpretation.
ISRI is pleased that the EPA
issued "clarification that the existing PCB regulations allow
for the separation, recycling, distribution in commerce and
reuse of plastics recycled from shredder aggregate from the
recycling of automobiles and appliances," association president
Robin Wiener told AMM.
"We are very grateful for the
agencys recognition of the importance of clarifying its
regulations to create certainty for business and to enable much
more recycling. The technologies for separating and recycling
the plastics are already being employed in Europe and Asia, and
the agencys action will now allow similar investments to
be made here in the U.S. instead of overseas," she said.
The recycling community will
achieve several environmental and economic benefits by
recycling the plastics, including an annual savings of almost
30 million barrels of oil, reduction of up to 5 million tons of
carbon dioxide emissions and more than 50 million cubic yards
of landfill space not used, Wiener said.