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Articles from 2006 In January

Court of Appeals denies rehearing on EPA’s RD&D rule

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has denied a petition filed by the Cotati, Calif.-based GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) requesting a rehearing on the organization’s challenge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Research, Development and Demonstration Rule (RD&D). In 2004, GRRN challenged the RD&D rule, which enables landfills to receive research and development permits from state landfill permitting programs. In November 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals denied GRRN’s challenge for a lack of standing.

Des Moines officials evaluating fate of curbside recycling program

Officials in Des Moines, Iowa, are evaluating whether to end curbside recycling pickup of glass, metals and plastics and reduce the number of times that paper is collected to once per month. The plan is part of a year-long study during which city officials are testing different recycling methods, according to The Des Moines Register. While the once-a- month collection of paper could save $250,000 in labor and transportation costs, environmentalists say that elimination of the curbside pickup of other materials would force tons of the recyclables to be disposed of in landfills. A decision on the fate of Des Moines’ curbside recycling program could come early next year.

Michigan legislators propose new garbage disposal fee

Michigan legislators are proposing a new refuse disposal fee on haulers to discourage the influx of trash from out-of-state landfills. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the $7.50-per-ton fee, which supporters say would raise $170 million per year, would fund local recycling programs. If approved by both the House and Senate, the fee would be placed before voters in November.

Pilot program hopes to encourage thermostat recycling in Indiana and Oregon

Under a new pilot program, contractors in Indiana and Oregon will receive rebate coupons for recycling mercury-containing thermostats. According to the Portland Business Journal, the program, which is partially funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, will help determine if financial incentives will encourage thermostat recycling. The year-long program will allow contractors to recycle the thermostats free of charge and use the rebate coupons, $3 in Indiana and $4 in Oregon, towards the purchase of non-mercury thermostats.

New Jersey DEP finds truck hauler violations at landfill

During two inspections, New Jersey environmental officials found several operational and safety violations by truck haulers at the Grand Central Sanitary Landfill in Plainfield Township. The Jan. 10 and Jan. 19 inspections cited 16 trucks for violations including leaking loads, inadequate tarps, improper paperwork and lack of authorization stickers, according to an article in The Express-Times. “The department will not tolerate haulers who ignore environmental laws and traffic safety regulations,” the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin told the paper.

Virginia recycling rates continue to decline

More than half of the local jurisdictions in Virginia have failed to meet the state’s 25 percent mandatory recycling rate, according to The Associated Press (AP). Overall, the state recorded a 29.8 percent recycling rate in 2004, the latest year for which data is available, the AP says.

State Sen. Roscoe Reynolds has proposed a bill that would lower Virginia’s recycling goal; however, opponents say that this could discourage recycling efforts. Also, the state is requiring areas that are below the 25 percent rate to explain how they will reach the recycling goal in their solid waste management plans, which the state must approve.

Manufacturers addressed in Maine’s new e-waste recycling law

On Jan. 18, Maine became the first state in the nation to require television and computer manufacturers to pay for the recycling and disposal of their discarded products. According to The Associated Press, jurisdictions in the state previously charged consumers between $15 and $20 to dispose of e-waste; however, the new law charges consumers only $2 to drop of their equipment. While supporters of the law want to protect the environment from the disposal of electronic equipment, they hope the law will encourage manufacturers to use less harmful materials and create products that are more easily recyclable.

Curbside recycling fees suspended in New Orleans

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans City Council has decided to suspend curbside recycling fees for residents and businesses. In November, the council voted to suspend sanitation fees for unoccupied areas damaged by the hurricane; however, the recycling fees were not addressed during this time, according to an article in The Times-Picayune. The monthly $1 to $2 fee was suspended last week and will be reinstated once recycling collection resumes, the paper says.

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality donates funds for bilingual education initiative

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is donating $16,396 to Tucson Clean & Beautiful, a non-profit environmental organization, to educate Spanish-speaking residents about the importance of recycling. According to an article in the Tucson Citizen, the grant will be used to produce bilingual guides detailing the benefits of recycling, items that can be tossed in recycling bins and the recycling process. The grant is part of the ADEQ Waste Reduction Initiative Through Education program.