ARA issued a comment letter on September 7, 2021 expressing significant concern and opposition to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)’s emergency rulemaking on the definition of scrap metal in the state.
The letter pointed out that professional automotive dismantlers in California have a long history of exemplary adherence to the multitude of state regulations and requirements instituted by the state. This includes a 40-year regulatory framework that is now in danger of disruption with industry-wide implications. While the proposed regulations were specific to metal shredding facilities, professional automotive dismantlers play a vital role in providing feedstock to metal shredding and scrap metal facilities in the form of dismantled, depolluted and inoperable hulk vehicles. ARA is very concerned about the unintended consequences that this proposed rule would have on its members’ businesses.
ARA maintains that motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and components are not waste material and in no way should be classified as hazardous waste. However according to the DTSC, chemically treated automotive shredder residue (ASR), while treated and chemically inert, would still be considered hazardous waste. This classification poses serious implications for how end-of-life vehicles are processed prior to arriving at a shredder or scrap metal operator. Additionally, without clearly identified facilities equipped and licensed to accept and process this material only classified as hazardous waste in California, the state’s entire recycling industry is potentially disrupted.
ARA and its members questioned what emergency exists to warrant such an emergency rule. According to the notice of emergency rulemaking, a metal shredder industry report published last month is cited as evidence of the “unforeseen emergency necessitating immediate action…” However, the report has been in the works for several years and the four violations cited in the report are likewise 1-3 years old and limited to only two companies. ARA respectfully asked DTSC to reconsider whether the findings of this August 2021 report warrant such a disruptive and rushed change to the existing regulatory framework.
As written, ARA does not see any benefit to the proposed revision to the scrap metal and shredder residue definitions and urges the Department to instead convene a stakeholder meeting to facilitate a constructive dialogue on this issue. In its own letter DTSC “acknowledges that the metal shredding and scrap metal recycling industry in California provides a useful service by facilitating recycling of scrap metal.” The professional automotive recycling industry plays a critical role in California’s metal recycling community and is reliant on metal shredding facilities as an integral part of the recycling process. As such, ARA welcomes the opportunity to continue this discussion in a more collaborative and timely manner.