EPA explains desire to update CRT rule

Is there a way for the EPA to get regulatory compliance on the growing used electronics issue on a long-term basis?

That question was recently brought up to Lisa Feldt, Deputy Assistant Administrator EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ annual Convention and Expo.

“We are committed in this administration and there is enough infrastructure in place that principles of the framework will last well beyond my tenure in the EPA,” Feldt said.

One such push in the EPA’s proposed revision to the rule and regulations governing export of Cathode Ray Tube rule. CRTs are the large, bulky leaded glass displays used in television sets for several decades until flat-screen technologies like Plasma and LCDs made it obsolete.

In 2002, the EPA made the rule “to encourage recycling and reuse of used CRTs and CRT glass.”

There’s a need for better regulation, the EPA says, to close loopholes and eliminate potential abuses of the law.

“When used CRTs are exported for recycling or reuse, there may be several persons involved from the time that a decision is made to export these materials up to the time that the actual export occurs. 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 EPA states in its proposed change of regulations, available here.

The proposal defines exporters of CRTs 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.’’

Under current law, exporters of CRTs must notify the EPA of an intended shipment 60 days before the shipment occurs. Notifications may cover exports extending over a 12-month or shorter period. This notification includes information about the exporting recycler, the importing recycler and the frequency and estimated quantity to be shipped, and which countries the material will pass through on its way to its final destination.

The EPA then it notifies the receiving country and any transit countries. When the receiving country consents in writing to receive the CRTs, EPA forwards an Acknowledgement of Consent (AOC) to the exporter. The exporter may not ship the CRTs until he receives the AOC. Under these rules, exporters are not required to tell the EPA how much was actually exported in a given year.

The new rules proposed would require annual reports from all parties defined as exporters. These reports must provide basic information abot the business and the total quantities actually shipped for recycling, the frequency of shipment and the ultimate destination of the exported materials. This, the EPA says, will help determine that the CRTs are handled as commodities and not waste.

A new rule will also subject CRTs sent for reuse will be to similar notifications and requirements.


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