In a very odd turn of events, one expert says that the government agency charged with protecting the environment is discouraging recycling efforts.
Speaking on behalf of more than 2,000 U.S. electronics manufacturers who are members of IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries, Dr. Brent Grazman said IPC members are strong advocates of scientifically based regulations that improve environmental conditions, protect human health and stimulate the economy. On those grounds, he said, the industry has concerns about the way U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented Section 8 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The (EPA) reporting requirements for manufacturing byproducts sent for recycling are “burdensome, unnecessary, and actually discourage recycling,” Grazman told Congress.
Grazman is Vice President, Quality, of St. Louis-based Viasystems, and he spoke before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, which is considering an overhaul of TSCA.
“It is critical that Congress reform TSCA in a way that directs the EPA to prioritize its regulation of chemicals,” Grazman said. “Substances that exhibit the greatest hazards, and those that pose the greatest exposure to consumers, should be given priority for review, testing and, as necessary, regulation.”
This isn’t the first time a government regulation has stressed the industry’s resources. Complying with conflict minerals reporting requirements has cost companies time and paperwork at the very least. Implementing Sarbanes-Oxley was also an expensive proposition. Now it appears the EPS is regulating the very materials that recycling tries to reclaim. Under the EPA’s interpretation of TSCA, Grazman says, byproducts are considered to be new chemicals if sent for recycling, creating an enormous compliance burden for substances that are already regulated under other statutes.
“As a nation, we recognize ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ as goals. But the EPA is undercutting those goals with regulations that discourage the beneficial recycling and reuse of valuable metals in manufacturing byproducts,” Grazman said. “We encourage Congress to directly exempt all byproducts from Section 8, including those that are sent for recycling.”
A copy of Dr. Grazman’s testimony is available at www.ipc.org/EHS-testimony.