This investigation was conducted to identify the current status of state recycling regulations in U.S. using an extensive survey. Questions were included regarding: baseline waste generation and recycling trends; recycling regulatory trends; quantitative thresholds; integration of science, engineering, and economic principles; material properties; and legislative status of regulations. The majority of the surveyed states had regulations for recycling activities, which were less strict than solid waste regulations, and required permits for operation of recycling facilities. A low percentage of the states regulated generators, transporters, and handlers and a high percentage regulated recyclers. In general, transfer stations and recycling centers were not regulated as solid waste facilities whereas MRFs were regulated as solid waste facilities. Exemptions were granted based on type and amount of materials and type of operation as well as for specific activities such as scrap materials, construction and demolition waste, and beneficial reuse. Quantity of incoming materials was measured somewhat more commonly than the quantity of outgoing materials. Weight based measurements were used more frequently than volume measurements. The use of numerical thresholds for residual content and in particular, putrescible content was not common. When used, residual thresholds ranged between 5 and 15% and putrescible threshold was 1%. Duration for on-site storage of materials typically was regulated and varied over a wide range (from 60 days to 3 years). Best management practices and best engineering principles/judgment were adopted in the development of regulatory schema and comprehensive science and engineering principles or risk analysis typically were not used. Variable frequencies and practices were used for inspections and also for enforcement. Annual reports typically were required for recycling operations. The majority of the surveyed states indicated that they were considering or in the process of changing regulations for recycling activities. A general lack of oversight was identified as a common problem.


Civil and Environmental Engineering



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cenv_fac/288