The California Metal Recyclers Coalition announced it has filed a complaint against the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to prevent what it calls “the unlawful imposition of ‘hazardous waste’ facility permitting requirements on metal shredding and recycling facilities.”
According to the coalition, the scrap metal recycling industry provides recycling services for millions of end-of-life vehicles, household appliances and other forms of scrap metal.
Scrap metal has never been classified as a "hazardous waste" under either federal or California law—and therefore metal recycling facilities have never been considered "hazardous waste" treatment facilities under either federal or state law.
The metal recycling industry is extensively regulated by a wide array of federal, state, regional and local authorities, including federal and state air and water quality laws, regional water quality control boards, regional air quality districts and local fire departments as well as other government entities that address local land use and permitting.
“DTSC's action is unlawful and threatens to undermine the scrap metal recycling industry in California,” said the California Metal Recyclers Coalition in a statement. “Californians have enthusiastically embraced recycling because they know that recycling helps reduce pollution, reduces the need for raw materials, preserves natural resources and reduces the energy used to mine and process native ores. California, which has always been a national leader in recycling, is already facing a crisis, as hundreds of recycling operations have closed down.”
“Now, state government, through DTSC, is about to worsen the recycling crisis by threatening to put the largest, most successful and most viable remaining recycling operation out of business by making it infeasible to recycle scrap metals like junk cars, used refrigerators and the many other thousands of end-of-life metal products,” added the coalition.
The coalition claims this "hazardous waste" designation by DTSC will result in such materials accumulating, increasing urban blight and causing potential threats to health and safety by being abandoned in back alleys, yards, neighborhood streets, vacant lots—and through a geometric increase in "midnight dumping" along roadsides or in empty fields.
The California Metal Recyclers Coalition seeks a determination from the court that the Hazardous Waste Control Law does not authorize DTSC to require "hazardous waste" treatment facility permits for metal processing and recycling operations conducted at California metal shredding facilities. The complaint also seeks injunctive relief.