The National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) expressed concerns to two California regulatory bodies regarding state initiatives on recycling goals and waste vehicle safety.
The Washington-based NW&RA told the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) that it perceives a lack of specificity and foresight on plans to reach the state’s recycling goal of 75 percent by 2020. CalRecycle has recently made recommendations for further action on the goal, the association said in a news release.
“While association members support recycling and have invested heavily in building California’s existing recycling infrastructure, CalRecycle fails to explain how its recommendations will aid California in achieving its legislatively mandated goal of 75-percent source reduction, recycling and composting,” wrote Chaz Miller, NW&RA’s director of policy/advocacy, in the association’s comments.
Specifically, Miller wrote that CalRecycle failed to include specific discard tonnages for its list of seven priority packaging products and also to analyze where those products are generated, how they’ll be recovered or what a realistic recovery rate would be for those goods.
In addition, NW&RA rejected CalRecycle’s recommendations for mandatory initiatives issuing extended producer responsibility (EPR) for package producers, as well as a possible ban on recyclables being sent to landfills.
“Extended producer responsibility as practiced [elsewhere] is, at best, a flawed funding mechanism,” he said. “Producers only pay for what they consider to be the ‘reasonable’ costs of recycling packages.”
Regarding safety, NW&RA commented to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) that its recent proposal to reduce the allowable speed for right-side drive waste collection vehicles will instead undercut recent national momentum in improving worker safety in the waste industry.
“No federal, state or local government safety fact sheet concerning the industry has ever identified falling out of a right-side drive vehicle as a priority concern,” said David Biderman, NW&RA vice president of government affairs. “Cal/OSHA’s proposed revisions are contrary to national best practices for such vehicles and drivers as set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and undercut the ANSI Z245 safety standards.”