News Watch

Departments - Legislation & Regulations

November 28, 2001


A bi-partisan group of seven House representatives, led by Rep. Blanche Lambert-Lincoln, D-Ark., has introduced the Superfund Recycling Equity Act of 1995.

The bill would amend Superfund to remove from liability the collection, processing and sale of paper, glass, plastic, metal, textile and rubber recyclables for reuse by manufacturers.

The proposed bill would also exempt from liability the collection of lead-acid, nickel-cadmium and other batteries for recycling. Further, the exemption, if passed, would apply to past as well as future transactions.

The proposed exemption would apply only to the products of scrap recyclers. It would not eliminate liability for contamination at a facility owned or operated by a recycler, nor would it erase liability to any type of processing waste sent by a recycler for treatment or disposal.

Lambert-Lincoln introduced the legislation to rectify what she calls "an unintended consequence of Superfund." She notes that the bill acknowledges that Congress "did not intend to subject to Superfund liability those governmental or private entities that collect and process secondary materials for sale as feedstocks for manufacturing."

Lambert proposed similar exemptions in last year’s Congressional session, but a final vote on Superfund reform was delayed until time ran out on the 103rd Congress last fall.

Joining Lambert-Lincoln in introducing the 1995 Superfund bill were Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Dan Schaefer, R-Colo.; Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio; Billy Tauzin, D-La.; Rick Boucher, D-Va.; and Tom Manton, D-N.Y.


Recycler’s World, an electronic information service linking the recycling industry to the world via the Internet, has been created by the Recycler’s Exchange, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The service offers anyone in the recycling industry access to the Internet without the need for expensive software or training, according to Paul Roszel, publisher of the Recycler’s Exchange.


The Orange Community Recycling Program, Chapel Hill, N.C., is offering up to $15,000 in waste reduction grants to individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations in Orange County, N.C. The grants are aimed at creating innovative solid waste reduction programs that reduce waste at the source, promote reuse and increase recycling.

"Projects should be based in Orange County and should be innovative, have measurable results and possible job creation potential," says Blair Pollack, solid waste planner with the recycling program.


The Southeast and East Central Recycling Association, Lamar, Colo., has produced a video about rural drop-off recycling entitled "From Start to Finish and Back Again." The video was made with a grant from the Rural Development Administration of FmHA, and features 40 communities in 13 counties that have participated in a three-yar Colorado drop-off recycling program .


The Connecticut Recyclers Coalition, Old Lyme, Conn., has launched a home waste audit pilot project aimed at encouraging consumers to reduce the volume and toxicity of materials they throw away, while reducing energy and water use.

Participants in the pilot will provide data on their water and energy use, trash weight and the weight of items recycled for six months. They will also attend workshops on various waste reduction methods. Seven Connecticut municipalities are part of the pilot project.


The Alameda County, Calif., Source Reduction and Recycling Board has established a recycling revolving loan fund for businesses involved in the recovered materials industry in Alameda County. The fund will be available to qualified businesses collecting, processing and manufacturing with recycled materials, as well as those that reuse and reduce waste. Currently at $750,000, the loan fund is expected to increase to $1.5 million with the next five years. The fund will be operated by the Materials for the Future Foundation, along with the Oakland Business Development Corp.

The RLF was created to provide new and existing recycling businesses with greater access to business loans, particularly higher-risk, non-bank credit. Projects that create secure markets for materials with historically low value will be given greater attention.


Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, Conn., and the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, have entered the second year of a joint program aimed at testing strategies to educate Americans about the importance of buying recycled. The program focuses on promoting the entire recycling process, including buying products containing recycled materials, in order to support recycling as a solid waste management option in communities.

KAB has provided a total of $90,000 in mini-grants to 15 of its local affiliates to initiate the program in towns and cities across the nation.

The program will attempt to stimulate markets for recyclables through a variety of strategies including public service announcements, educational forums, brochures, buy-recycled fairs, seminars and the formation of buy-recycled coalitions. Consumers, businesses, institutions and local governments are the target groups for the program.

Test cities will use KAB’s "Waste in the Workplace" guide and EPA’s "Waste Wise" program to provide businesses with strategies to reduce waste and change their procurement practices to include recycled goods.


The European Union has enacted a directive on packaging waste requiring that all 15 member companies recycle a minimum of 25 percent of their packaging by 2001.

To ensure recovery, European countries have moved towards "producer responsibility" laws that require manufacturers to be responsible for their packaging.

Because each country is implementing its own system, with differing requirements, manufacturers could face a patchwork of packaging and product takeback mandates in nearly 20 countries within the next five years, according to research from Raymond Communications Inc., Riverdale, Md.

"Beverage packaging already has various refillable mandates, deposits and taxes in Europe," says David Perchard, European editor of Raymond’s newsletter, Recycling Laws International.

"But the directive will apply to all packaging -- including medical, flexible and transport packaging," he continues. "The EU will look at exemptions -- industry will have to make its case. But if your package gets one, individual countries can still regulate it on their own."


The environmental activist organization Greenpeace, known for its often confrontational style, has been making attempts at cooperation. According to reports in Warmer Bulletin, Greenpeace is working with Swedish paper manufacturers to develop chlorine-free paper pulp, as well as participating in constructive discussions to find alternatives to pesticides in Denmark.


As part of the most recent wave of cities to implement curbside recycling programs, Fort Wayne, Ind., has begun collecting newspapers; magazines; and metal, glass and some plastic containers at curbside every other week. The city, which formerly charged $5 a month for garbage collection alone, will now charge single family households $6.50 a month for weekly garbage pickup, voluntary recycling services and yard waste recycling in the spring. The largest recycling program in the state, Fort Wayne includes 59,000 households in the program.