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REGULATIONS IMPEDE RECYCLING ROUNDTABLE STUDY CAUTIONS

 REGULATIONS IMPEDE RECYCLING ROUNDTABLE STUDY CAUTIONS
 WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Recycling remains an underutilized hazardous waste management option because of regulatory barriers, a new study released today by the Business Roundtable warns. This is in direct contrast to the advantages and preferences for recycling expressed in national waste management laws and directives, the study says.
 The study, "The Role of Recycling in Hazardous Waste Management," which was prepared for the Roundtable by the consulting firm SRI International, says the difficulty with recycling is the government's dual mandate. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976 gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the responsibility to protect human health and the environment, and to promote material recovery. The report notes that this produced, in the view of a former EPA official, one of the most intricate and complicated regulatory frameworks in any area of federal law.
 "For industry, the lack of clarity in the regulations leads to uncertainty about how to achieve compliance," the report says. And to avoid possible RCRA violations "(waste) generators often take a conservative approach, treating or discarding process materials as hazardous wastes regardless of their potential secondary value." The resulting confusion and impediments bring about increased virgin material consumption and energy use, the report says, as well as compromising production efficiency, raising compliance costs and product prices, and consuming scarce hazardous waste landfill space.
 Impending congressional reauthorization of RCRA "offers a prime opportunity for legislative reform," the report says. It adds that "less ambiguous regulations will reduce uncertainties and allow generators and recyclers to consider recycling with greater confidence that future liability will not be incurred."
 The report also suggests a number of regulatory reforms, among them:
 -- Modifying permitting procedures to allow permits-by-rule, which would eliminate some duplicate procedures;
 -- advancing a "de minimus" (low risk) rule, which would exempt wastes with very low concentrations of toxic constituents from RCRA Subtitle C regulation;
 -- expediting the lengthy delisting process;
 -- providing market incentives for recycling; and
 -- removing the stigma of designation as a hazardous waste from legitimate recycling feedstocks, while also removing RCRA restrictions from recycled feedstocks.
 The report concludes that congressional changes in RCRA "should unequivocally emphasize the preference for recycling over treatment and disposal, as Congress first intended." It adds EPA needs to continue planned regulatory reforms in order to remove current barriers to hazardous waste recycling. "The benefits of reform will be to minimize land disposal of hazardous waste and to reduce environmental risk and damage, both now and in the long-term future," the report says.
 The Business Roundtable is an association of over 200 leading corporations represented by their chief executive officers who focus and act on public policy issues.
 -0- 3/11/92 R
 /CONTACT: Richard W. Anthony of the Business Roundtable, 212-682-6370, or Michael J. Volpe of Volpe Communications, 703-534-5022, for the report/ CO: Business Roundtable ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: ECO


KD-OS -- NY031 -- 7498 03/11/92 16:51 EST
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Date:Mar 11, 1992
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