EPA considering new rules for CRT glass
EPA considering new rules for CRT glass
By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering new regulations meant to produce better information on the export of cathode ray tube glass and ensure that the material is properly managed.
Under the existing regulations, which have been in effect since 2006, a company wanting to ship CRTs for recycling must file export notices with the EPA 60 days before the shipment occurs. After receiving this notification, the EPA then contacts officials in the country slated to receive the CRTs as well as any other countries the shipment might pass through. Once officials in the receiving country consent in writing to receiving the shipment, the EPA forwards an Acknowledgement of Consent to the exporter who can go ahead and send off the materials.
Export notices filed with the EPA include an estimated total quantity of CRTs the company expects to ship during the next 12 months, and there is no requirement to report the quantity of the material that was in fact exported during this period.
"As EPA implemented the rule, it became apparent that additional information is needed from the CRT exporter to better understand the flow of exported CRTs in order to ensure better management of these materials," reads the proposed changes in the Federal Register.
In response, the EPA is proposing new regulations to require exporters to file annual reports that would include information on the quantity of CRTs exported for recycling during the calendar year and where they are sent to. The reports would also include the names and addresses of the facilities in each country that the CRTs are destined. The EPA would compare the reports against proposed shipments in export notices. The agency expects that this new information would allow it to better determine whether the CRTs exported for recycling are handled as commodities and not discarded.
According to the proposed changes, the new regulations are also needed, in part, because "the trade in used electronics can take place along a chain of businesses that collect, refurbish, dismantle, recycle, and reprocess used electronic products and their components." The new regulations would be aimed at clarifying who is responsible for export duties by defining a CRT exporter as "any person in the United States who initiates a transaction to send used CRTs outside the United States or its territories for recycling or reuse, or any intermediary in the United States arranging for such export." The regulation broadly includes "used" CRTs because some are exported for reuse, but are instead recycled or even disposed of.
"We are also proposing that the CRT exporter and any intermediary arranging for the export must be in the United States, because foreign-based entities add to the possibility of confusion over fulfilling the export responsibilities, and it is more difficult to establish EPA jurisdiction over such persons," reads the notice.
Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network said that the proposed rules appear to be an improvement to the issue by providing more transparency. However, in an email to E-Scrap News, he notes that transparency is not the issue.
"It is not enough to shed more light on illegal activity if you have not at first recognized it as such and addressed it as such by prohibiting such exports unless they have the consent of the importing country," wrote Puckett (italics his), arguing that the transnational shipment of CRT glass is illegal under international law.
"It would be as if a local city proposed a new law that required those engaged in littering or dumping rubbish in an adjacent township that prohibits dumping, to provide better information on what types of rubbish they dump, how often and where, but the law says nothing about preventing that anti-social, illegal and damaging behavior itself," wrote Puckett. "To call this revision lipstick on a pig is being too kind and perhaps insulting to pigs."
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, which has clashed with BAN on the exports of e-scrap, welcomes greater enforcement of the CRT rule as a means to promote responsible recycling. However, ISRI does take issue with applying the new rules to functioning CRTs being exported for reuse.
Comments must be received on or before May 14, 2012 and can be sent to RCRAfirstname.lastname@example.org. Comments should be identified with Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–RCRA–2011–1014.
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