CalRecycle Workshop Spurs Action On Scrap Tire Exports

The California Department of Recycling and Resource Recovery (CalRecycle) held a workshop on tire regulation enforcement March 19.

The “changes in Enforcement Practices” workshop is the latest CalRecycle effort to respond to the continued diversion of California waste tires to unpermitted facilities that have received notice of violation orders to bring their site into compliance with storage limits.

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For months, California tire recyclers, processors and other industry stakeholders have been lobbying CalRecycle to step up enforcement of unpermitted sites and haulers delivering tires to unpermitted sites.

These unpermitted operations are diverting thousands of scrap tires from legitimately permitted tire recyclers and processors drastically reducing tire flows and threatening to put legitimate scrap tire companies out of business, stakeholders told CalRecycle.

More than 75 California tire recycling industry stakeholders attending the March 19 meeting thanked CalRecycle officials and applauded their dedication in responding to California tire recyclers’ and processors’ concerns.

California tire recyclers called the meeting “a great start” and said they were hopeful that CalRecycle’s actions will have an impact on the export of tires, at least in the short term.

Beyond California, the tire recycling industry in a growing number of states is also feeling the effects of tires being exported overseas. Tire recylers in these states say the loss of tire flow and lost revenue are putting their businesses in jeopardy.

As stakeholders from other states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coalesce, they point to California as a good example of what states can do. “California is moving on it,” several tire industry representatives said during a recent meeting of EPA’s Scrap Tire Workgroup subcommittee on exports. Among other things, California is looking at legislation to institutionalize waste tire practices.

At the March 19 meeting, workshop leaders presented a roster of ideas on modifications to the state’s waste tire enforcement process that focused on business practices and statutory options. Among the changes to current business practices, CalRecycle proposed shortening the time for rejecting incomplete waste tire storage permit applications and the time between a notice of violation and a cleanup order.

The agency also proposed a “no exceptions” rule for all sites found in violation. CalRecycle said it would work with local district attorneys and involve attorneys earlier in the process to thwart facilities and haulers in violation of waste tire laws.

CalRecycle also proposed re-instating the practice of publicizing enforcement activities through press releases and as informational items on public meeting agendas. The agency also recommended posting cleanup and abatement orders and administrative complaints on its website.

Nine statutory options presented at the meeting were for discussion only. They included provisions to require waste tire law violators to reduce the number of tires on site to zero and the option for district attorneys to file felony charges against waste tire violators, instead of misdemeanor charges as currently allowed.

CalRecycle is accepting comments to its proposed business practices changes and statutory options until the end of April at [email protected].

© Scrap Tire News, April 2012