The Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has provided written testimony to the Connecticut General Assembly Joint Environment Committee opposing a new product stewardship bill, HB 7067, that the association says “could prove harmful to the recycling industry.”
The legislation would give the commissioner of the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) “unbridled authority to set up extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs” for “any object or substance identified in regulations adopted pursuant to this section,” says ISRI.
“Stewardship programs make little sense for used and end-of-life materials that are resold and processed into commodity grade feedstock that supplies a strong reuse and recycling market across the country,” ISRI has written in testimony submitted by Gregory Mitko, president of ISRI’s New England Chapter. Mitko also works for scrap metal firm ELG Utica Alloys (Hartford) Inc. in Connecticut.
“ISRI is concerned that [the proposed] H.B. 7067 leaves open the possibility that government could move toward product stewardship programs for recyclable materials that have a positive value and existing market already in place,” ISRI also has written.
The bill provides statutory authority for DEEP to add products through legislative or regulatory action without the need for legislation, giving DEEP unrestricted permission to add products without consulting with recyclers or being aware of the market implications of their actions, ISRI says.
According to ISRI, scrap generators (manufacturers) would then be placed in charge of developing plans, including governing rules, fees, goals, facilities and processes to be used, and metrics, giving manufacturers the sole ability to manage products and control the flow of recyclable materials. It also makes producers immune from liability for claims of violations of antitrust law or unfair trade practices to the extent that they are exercising authority granted by the model program.
“In the industry, we call this ‘flow control.’ which is a concept fraught with market and constitutional complications and concerns,” ISRI’s written testimony states. “ISRI believes H.B. 7067 is drafted in such a way that [it] ignores the strength, capabilities, and vibrancy of the existing recycling industry,” the association adds.
“It is illogical to pursue discussions on product stewardship programs without first consulting the recycling industry, which is the primary authority on existing recyclable markets,” ISRI continues. “With all due respect to those organizations advocating on behalf of product stewardship, the business of recycling is best understood by those entrepreneurs who have made recycling possible through their own hard work and ingenuity.”
ISRI says it has adopted an official policy regarding producer responsibility that promotes a competitive, market-based system that assures the free and fair trade of recyclable and recycled materials.