RadTech Joins US Plastics Pact
Last December, RadTech joined the US Plastics Pact, a collaborative, solutions-driven initiative intended to drive significant systems change toward a circular economy for plastics in the United States by 2025. The US Pact – the first of its kind in North America – is a collaboration led by The Recycling Partnership, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It is convening more than 70 brands, retailers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies to bring one voice to US packaging though coordinated initiatives and innovative solutions for rethinking products, packaging and business models. The first task will be to establish a “roadmap” in 2021 to identify key milestones and national solutions to achieve the US targets and realize a circular economy in which plastic never becomes waste. Learn more at www.usplasticspact.org.
US EPA Plans to Increase e-Manifest Use
In April, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) held its fourth e-Manifest Advisory Board meeting. After the meeting, the board delivered its final recommendations to increase use of electronic hazardous waste manifests among generators and transporters. The advisory board focused on ways to make e-manifests more convenient for generators and transporters, namely by streamlining the electronic signature requirements. In a document released in October 2020, EPA responded to each of the board’s recommendations to increase use of e-manifests. Learn more at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0075-0021
Start-up, Shutdown and Malfunction Emissions Standards Policy Relaxed
In 2015, US EPA took the policy position that state implementation plans (SIPs) cannot provide for relaxed air emission standards during start-up, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) periods and remain in compliance with the Clean Air Act. As of Oct. 9, 2020, that position has been reversed.
EPA Issues New Air Guidance on PALs
The Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) issued new guidance addressing plantwide applicability limits (PAL) under the New Source Review (NSR) program of the Clean Air Act. The PAL guidance expedites facility modifications and new source construction without permit approval by providing assurances regarding the way in which the federal government and most states will approach future PAL issues. Referred to as Guidance on Plantwide Applicability Limitation Provisions Under the New Source Review Regulations, it relates to the PAL regulations that are part of the 2002 NSR Reform Rule, 67 Federal Register 80186. To date, EPA has seen scant use of the PAL concept, with fewer than 75 PAL permits in existence nationwide. The new guidance is intended to answer questions and provide confidence to major air pollution emitting sources that the PAL program will not be utilized to ratchet down air emissions, but instead to offer flexibility in the permitting mechanisms under the NSR program.
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Proposed
US EPA published a proposed revision to its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Update in response to the remand of the rule by the D.C. Circuit. The CSAPR Update was promulgated under the Clean Air Act’s Good Neighbor provision, which requires states to ensure that pollution from sources within their borders does not significantly contribute to the ability of downwind states to attain or maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Under the Good Neighbor provision, if a state implementation plan (SIP) does not adequately address the interstate transport of pollutants, EPA must step in and issue its own rules through a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP).
Sustainability a Growing Business Priority as a Result of COVID-19
Sustainability is going to be more important to large companies as a result of COVID-19, according to research commissioned by the Carbon Trust. More than 70% of companies interviewed for the research said environmental management and/or sustainability priorities are likely to become “somewhat more important” or “significantly more important” for them as a result of COVID-19. Read more at https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/corporate-attitudes-towards-sustainability-2020
Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D.
Director of Sustainability & EHS Initiatives
RadTech International North America
News from the West Coast
Job Restoration Goal of $187 Million Funding from Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) has announced it will provide funding to “help sustain and strengthen essential domestic industrial base capabilities and defense-critical workforce in shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, and clothing and textiles.” Through the Defense Production Act, the DOD is making $187 million available in the hopes of restoring some of the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
The DOD has entered into a $50 million agreement with Austal USA, based in Mobile, Alabama, to maintain, protect and expand critical domestic shipbuilding and maintenance capacity. In addition, W International – a Goose Greek, South Carolina company – is slated for a $55 million agreement to expand critical domestic industrial base capability for the US Navy nuclear shipbuilding industry. Weber, Inc., headquartered in Paramount, California, obtained a $25 million agreement for large, open and closed die forgings used in many weapons systems. Some $55 million will go to General Electric Aviation to sustain essential aircraft engine component manufacturing capabilities.
The funds are intended to enable these businesses and their suppliers throughout the US to retain/reinstate more than 225 American jobs. The DOD believes it is critical to national defense that GE and its affiliated companies remain viable and working.
Environmental advocacy groups have been petitioning the Department of Defense to alter the manufacturing specifications of military aircraft to eliminate the use of five toxic metals, including hexavalent chromium. The groups urged metal finishing companies that deal with military operations to explore funding opportunities through these programs to obtain financial assistance to convert to toxic-free alternative processes.
Composite Wood Industry in California
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is closely monitoring consumer products such as flooring and cabinets that use composite wood materials. Over the past two years, CARB reports that it has settled 15 cases totaling more than $338,000. In 2016, hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators, Inc., paid the agency $2.5 million to settle CARB’s claims that Lumber Liquidators sold, supplied or offered for sale in California composite wood products that exceeded state formaldehyde limits, and that Lumber Liquidators failed to take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure those products met such limits designed to protect public health.
Composite wood products are manufactured with glue, wood veneers and wood by-products to make them stronger. However, glues used in composite wood can also emit formaldehyde, which CARB considers a toxic air contaminant that causes cancer. In 2007, CARB established strict emission standards for hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard. CARB’s regulation applies to all composite wood manufacturers, importers, fabricators, distributors and retailers selling in the state and requires that composite wood materials be produced in a mill that is third-party certified. Efforts are taken to ensure materials are compliant, documented and labeled for compliance.
“CARB’s programs are designed to ensure that no child in school, and no resident of California is exposed to toxic formaldehyde from composite wood flooring, furniture and related products,” explained Todd Sax, CARB’s enforcement division chief. He went on to state: “…businesses will be held accountable through enforcement action.”
CARB’s enforcement program includes both emissions testing and extensive audits of the compliance precautions taken. After settling the Lumber Liquidators case in 2016, most of the settled cases involved excess emissions and inadequate precautions to ensure compliant material was sold, including the sale of unlabeled product. CARB enforcement efforts continue to be focused on flooring, cabinetry and any other furniture using composite wood products handled by manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
For further information from Rita Loof, see the article RadTech Supports UV End Users through Advocacy.
Director of Regional Environmental Affairs
RadTech International North America