Recycled materials now solid waste?

Jan. 1, 2020
Aftermarket tire retailers, auto service businesses and auto dealers are all up in arms about a couple of proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Aftermarket tire retailers, auto service businesses and auto dealers are all up in arms about a couple of proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under pressure from a long-running lawsuit initiated by environmentalists, which has also spurred political support, the EPA is looking to change the status of disposed-of tires and used oil from "recycled fuel" to "solid waste."

This presents the possibility that cement kilns, where waste haulers send old tires and "off spec" oil turned in by retailers, service stations and dealerships, will no longer be willing to incinerate those materials. This could raise retailer waste disposal costs, especially where there are no landfills nearby, and also raise environmental liability issues.

"We see about 50 million scrap tires going into cement kilns every year," explains Tracey Norberg, senior vice president for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. "And if these markets evaporate, truly we will see a land filling crisis in this country with tires and increased stockpiling across the country."

The beauty of cement kilns is that they can burn an entire tire, using the rubber for fuel and the metal and zinc as ingredients in cement. Tires burn hotter than coal, making them a much better fuel source for the kilns.

Craig S. Campbell, vice president, environment & government affairs, Lafarge North America – Cement Division, says the combined, natural consequence of these rules is increased landfilling of reusable and recyclable materials, which is counter to long-standing EPA policy that discourages such activities. "Combined with the proposed Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI) regulations, EPA is establishing a regulatory regime that will in effect provide a disincentive to utilize non-hazardous secondary materials in the production of Portland cement in the United States," he states.

Cement kiln emissions today are regulated as if they come from an industrial facility. If tires and oil are reclassified as solid waste, the kilns would be reclassified as what are called CISWI units. Norberg says a CISWI designation would mean the cement kilns would have to have emission controls for five additional toxic chemicals; plus simply being designated as an "incinerator" would be a stigma. That is why the EPA estimates that kilns could send as much as 214,000 tons of tires and other things to a landfill — instead of burning them — to avoid the "incinerator" designation and control standards.

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The EPA proposal to reclassify off-spec-used oil as solid waste could have an even more profound impact on aftermarket retailers. Right now, waste haulers often pay service stations and dealers for their off-spec oil. It is a valuable commodity as a fuel. That all would change if EPA calls that oil a "waste." Suddenly, service stations might have to pay to get that old oil — including oil turned in by do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) — picked up. Or they might dispose of it in questionable channels.

Therefore, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is urging the EPA to mitigate the effects by taking some secondary steps, including reducing the amount of oil disposed of by DIYers by limiting the sale of that product by retailers, or forcing retailers to initiate recycling programs that DIYers could take advantage of.

To reduce the amount of DIY oil coming into service stations and dealerships, Douglas I. Greenhaus, director, environment health and safety, NADA, says the EPA should consider a ban on the sale of DIY oil modeled on the existing federal ban on DIY motor vehicle refrigerants. "Such a ban would cause used oils now being mismanaged by DIYers to be properly recycled by vehicle maintenance facilities," he says. As a secondary solution, he also suggests that DIYers purchasing new oil should pay a deposit to be returned when the used oil and empty oil containers are returned, or when they prove that recycling was done elsewhere.

"Retailers should offer DIYs a preferred used oil recycling containers at the point of sale," Greenhaus says.

Aftermarket tire retailers, auto service businesses and auto dealers are all up in arms about a couple of proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under pressure from a long-running lawsuit initiated by environmentalists, which has also spurred political support, the EPA is looking to change the status of disposed-of tires and used oil from "recycled fuel" to "solid waste."

This presents the possibility that cement kilns, where waste haulers send old tires and "off spec" oil turned in by retailers, service stations and dealerships, will no longer be willing to incinerate those materials. This could raise retailer waste disposal costs, especially where there are no landfills nearby, and also raise environmental liability issues.

"We see about 50 million scrap tires going into cement kilns every year," explains Tracey Norberg, senior vice president for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. "And if these markets evaporate, truly we will see a land filling crisis in this country with tires and increased stockpiling across the country."

The beauty of cement kilns is that they can burn an entire tire, using the rubber for fuel and the metal and zinc as ingredients in cement. Tires burn hotter than coal, making them a much better fuel source for the kilns.

Craig S. Campbell, vice president, environment & government affairs, Lafarge North America – Cement Division, says the combined, natural consequence of these rules is increased landfilling of reusable and recyclable materials, which is counter to long-standing EPA policy that discourages such activities. "Combined with the proposed Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incineration (CISWI) regulations, EPA is establishing a regulatory regime that will in effect provide a disincentive to utilize non-hazardous secondary materials in the production of Portland cement in the United States," he states.

Cement kiln emissions today are regulated as if they come from an industrial facility. If tires and oil are reclassified as solid waste, the kilns would be reclassified as what are called CISWI units. Norberg says a CISWI designation would mean the cement kilns would have to have emission controls for five additional toxic chemicals; plus simply being designated as an "incinerator" would be a stigma. That is why the EPA estimates that kilns could send as much as 214,000 tons of tires and other things to a landfill — instead of burning them — to avoid the "incinerator" designation and control standards.

PAGE 2

The EPA proposal to reclassify off-spec-used oil as solid waste could have an even more profound impact on aftermarket retailers. Right now, waste haulers often pay service stations and dealers for their off-spec oil. It is a valuable commodity as a fuel. That all would change if EPA calls that oil a "waste." Suddenly, service stations might have to pay to get that old oil — including oil turned in by do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) — picked up. Or they might dispose of it in questionable channels.

Therefore, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is urging the EPA to mitigate the effects by taking some secondary steps, including reducing the amount of oil disposed of by DIYers by limiting the sale of that product by retailers, or forcing retailers to initiate recycling programs that DIYers could take advantage of.

To reduce the amount of DIY oil coming into service stations and dealerships, Douglas I. Greenhaus, director, environment health and safety, NADA, says the EPA should consider a ban on the sale of DIY oil modeled on the existing federal ban on DIY motor vehicle refrigerants. "Such a ban would cause used oils now being mismanaged by DIYers to be properly recycled by vehicle maintenance facilities," he says. As a secondary solution, he also suggests that DIYers purchasing new oil should pay a deposit to be returned when the used oil and empty oil containers are returned, or when they prove that recycling was done elsewhere.

"Retailers should offer DIYs a preferred used oil recycling containers at the point of sale," Greenhaus says.