SHARE

May 19, 2022

EPA Considers Classifying Discarded PVC Plastic as Hazardous Waste

You've Reached Your
Free Article Limit This Month
Register for free to get unlimited access to all Law.com OnPractice content.
Register Now

In yet another "sue and settle" case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed entering into a consent decree agreeing to rule on the Center for Biological Diversity's (CBD) petition to classify discarded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Part of a broader initiative to decrease the volume of plastic waste, this may result in a rule classifying a wide range of PVC-containing industrial, commercial, and retail materials and products as hazardous wastes when discarded.

The consent decree would resolve CBD's August 2021 complaint in Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in which CBD alleged that EPA unreasonably delayed acting on a 2014 petition to list discarded PVC as hazardous waste. The proposed consent decree requires that EPA propose a decision on CBD's petition by Jan. 20, 2023. Interested parties may file comments on this proposed decision, and EPA must issue a final decision by April 12, 2024. EPA published a notice in the Federal Register providing information on the proposed consent decree. Any written comments on the consent decree must be received by June 3, 2022.

CBD asserts that many products ranging from building materials to food packaging to children's toys contain PVC, which it states can have a harmful effect on human health, the environment, and wildlife. Specifically, CBD asserts that PVC contains vinyl chloride and states EPA has acknowledged that vinyl chloride is a human carcinogen. CBD also asserts that PVC contains chemical additives, such as phthalate plasticizers, which it states have toxic and carcinogenic effects on human and wildlife. Accordingly, CBD believes that PVC should be listed a hazardous waste under RCRA.

Furthermore, CBD's petition is not aimed merely at PVC waste that might be generated at the initial chemical manufacturing stage: it seeks to have EPA declare that finished materials and products containing PVC are hazardous wastes when discarded. This could encompass, for example, discarded PVC pipe and even trimmings at a construction site, or PVC-containing products that might be discarded by retail stores (e.g., unusable or damaged customer returns). Such a classification might complicate the recycling of any plastics that contain PVC and create headwinds for those who manufacture materials or products containing PVC.

Companies in the PVC value chain, including those who sell or use PVC-containing materials and products, may wish to (1) evaluate their exposure to and the potential impact of this initiative on their business; (2) consider opportunities to engage in advocacy related to EPA's initial consideration of CBD's petition and any rulemaking or litigation that might arise from that decision; and (3) begin to assess opportunities to decrease their potential exposure to any eventual classification of discarded PVC as a hazardous waste.

ALM expressly disclaims any express or implied warranty regarding the OnPractice Content, including any implied warranty that the OnPractice Content is accurate, has been corrected or is otherwise free from errors.

More From Greenberg Traurig

CFPB Says 'Show Me The (Consumer Unfriendly) Fine Print'

By Timothy A. Butler Greenberg Traurig January 25 , 2023

On Jan. 11, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a proposed rule that would require certain nonbank financial companies subject to its supervisory jurisdiction to submit annual reports about their use of terms and conditions that attempt to waive or limit consumer rights and protections.

FINRA Files Amendments to Proposed Rule Change That Will Allow Remote Inspections

By William B. Mack Greenberg Traurig January 25 , 2023

Last summer, the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) proposed a rule change to its supervision rule (FINRA Rule 3110) to allow member firms to conduct remote inspections of some or all branch offices and locations.

5 Trends to Watch: 2023 Venture Capital

By Chinh H. Pham Greenberg Traurig January 20 , 2023

The current macroeconomic environment, coupled with record increases in valuations over the last several years, is creating an increase in down-rounds, re-pricings, and recapitalizations.

More From Federal Government

Judge Tosses First Amendment Defense In Yuga Labs V. Ryder Ripps

By Mioko C. Tajika Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti January 24 , 2023

On December 16, 2022, a federal district judge in California denied artist Ryder Ripps’s and his partner’s anti-SLAPP motion and motion to dismiss in a closely monitored action filed against them by Yuga Labs, Inc. (“Yuga”), the creator behind the monumentally successful Bored Ape Yacht Club (“BAYC”) NFTs.

5 Trends to Watch in 2023 International Arbitration

By Joseph J. Mamounas Greenberg Traurig January 19 , 2023

To meet demand for more flexible and timely ways to achieve dispute resolution, some clients are turning to emergency arbitration procedures as ways to not only preserve the status quo but also obtain an early assessment of the merits (through the lens of the likelihood of success).

Antitrust M&A Snapshot | Q4 2022

By Alexandra Lewis McDermott Will & Emery January 19 , 2023

Penguin Random House’s planned acquisition of rival Simon & Schuster was blocked by Judge Florence Pan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia on November 21.

Featured Stories
Closeclose
Search
Menu

Working...