As part of the forthcoming rulemaking, OSHA has strongly hinted that they may propose eliminating the eight cited uses of the word “unexpected” from the current LO/TO standard.
Exclusion of the word “unexpected” would result in all energy control measures being subject to more stringent regulations, and may place the burden of proof for unexpected energization, start-up or release of energy to the employer, for all covered machinery and equipment.
In order to proactively address the rulemaking, TLMI has joined a voluntary effort with allied print and ink associations, led by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA). The organization wants to ensure that the collective industry sufficiently addresses the stakeholder comment opportunity to OSHA.
Two separate, voluntary working groups have been established to review and cover issues of concern within the RFI. Company and industry representatives are reviewing available injury data, compiling list of covered equipment and are in the process of developing draft responses.
Those interested in participating are encouraged to contact Dan Muenzer with TLMI, kand TLMI will make sure you are connected with Gary Jones at SGIA, who is spearheading this effort. The comment period to OSHA closes on August 19.
Congress begins to address recycling opportunities and challenges
With the majority of the state legislatures adjourned for the summer (and in many cases, the year), several members of Congress have turned their attention to recycling and solid waste issues, introducing legislation to address areas of opportunity and concern. Continued market pressure from China’s recycling contamination standard, resulting in a more limited recyclable export markets, has members reviewing options for improving recycling streams.
Those seeking more information on any of the bills highlighted below, or to provide comments to any of the Congressional offices referenced, should contact Bryan Vickers here, or 703-403-2882.
National Recycling Strategy Report
House Appropriations Interior-Environment Subcommittee chair Betty McCollum (D-MN-4th) has authored language that directs the EPA to develop a national recycling strategy.
The report language directs the EPA to collaborate with recycling stakeholders on a national strategy to harmonize standards, strengthen end markets and reduce contamination in the recycling stream. The report language states that collaborative efforts with EPA representatives and stakeholders will strengthen markets, reduce contamination and prevent recyclable materials from being sent to landfills.
The forthcoming EPA report, which is due by the end of 2020, is directed to highlight the value of implementing a national system of standardized recycling labeling, the importance of public education to increase residential compliance, along with other opportunities to reduce cross-contamination and comingling of materials from entering the recycling stream.
Legislation outlining EPR anticipated
Earlier this month, senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) released an draft outline and framework that would create both a national extended producer responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging, minimum recycled-content mandates for a broad range of packaging materials, (plastic, glass and aluminum among them), as well as a national bottle bill (deposit) program. The draft outline also addresses labeling and seeks to standardize labels for plastics packaging to include disposal and recycling eligibility for covered plastics.
While not all elements of the framework are exclusively tied to plastic-based packaging, the legislation is largely in response to continuing recyclable export market challenges, renewed attention on plastic-based packaging disposal and increasing costs for municipalities to continue providing affordable recycling services for their residents. A key goal of the bill is to have manufacturing and other recyclable end markets (brands), provide funding and support for recycling programs, as highlighted in the EPR section.
Staff with both offices are accepting comments on the outline through August 21.
Zero Waste Act introduced in US House of Representatives
Last week, representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the Zero Waste Act, which would create a federal grant program to support municipalities in their efforts to achieve greater recycling rates and decrease landfill disposal. The legislation requests $250 million in funding over seven years. Grant money may be used to improve the quality of recyclables, support end markets and improve air quality.
Unique to this legislation are the restrictions surrounding entities eligible to apply for and receive grants. Applicants must be from either a local or state government, or trade association (private companies are not permitted to apply). In addition, grants would only be provided to entities located in communities with poor air quality, above the 80th percentile, as designated by EPA’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool.
The legislation is in its initial Committee assignment.