California scrap metal coalition warns proposed actions would imperil recycling
United Metal Recyclers of California has warned that a proposed agency action targeting metal shredders and recyclers would eliminate California's scrap metal operations and force tons of metal into state landfills.
Dreamstine

California scrap metal coalition warns proposed actions would imperil recycling

United Metal Recyclers of California says the state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control is overreaching.

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September 3, 2019

In a news release, United Metal Recyclers of California (UMRC), a coalition representing every aspect of the metal recycling industry throughout California, including auto dismantlers, recycling centers, shredders and exporters, has warned that a proposed agency action targeting metal shredders and recyclers would eliminate California's scrap metal operations and force tons of metal into state landfills.

In addition to private recycling companies, the UMRC says its coalition includes local elected officials, environmentalists, 17 chambers of commerce and community organizations.

"Metal shredding is one of the last successful areas of recycling in the state," says Raul Riesgo, a spokesman for UMRC. "Unlike the fiasco we're seeing with the mass closure of beverage container recycling centers, metal shredders are successfully employing thousands of people, keeping millions of cars and appliances out of neighborhoods and landfills, conserving natural resources and creating value for metal shipped to worldwide for manufacturing."

But the proposal from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) would grind the industry to a halt and result in multiple unintended consequences, he says.

"DTSC is proposing to arbitrarily change the definition of what metal is toxic," Riesgo says. "It is shameful and the reason why our coalition is growing so fast."

Currently, DTSC regulates the auto shredder residue (ASR) that remains after the automotive recycling process is completed and that is considered toxic. But, according to the UMRC, without any scientific or other justification, DTSC is planning to regulate every phase of the shredding process by redefining what is considered hazardous waste and charging a fee at every phase of the process.

"Every phase of our operations is already heavily regulated by numerous local, state and regional agencies," Riesgo says. "Nothing is broken. Nothing needs fixing, except DTSC's power and money grab."

The coalition has been formed to contest regulations being proposed by DTSC that the organization claims would have a significant negative impact on their members’ operations.