Recyclers have potential regulatory reporting to be completed by March 1, 2020 and also between June 1 and September 30, 2020.
Reporting due by March 1, 2020 is annual Tier II (or Tier 2) reporting for Calendar Year 2019 under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) regulations at 40 CFR Part 370. Tier II reporting is required if a facility is required by OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to prepare or have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for a hazardous chemical that is either an Extremely Hazardous Substance (EHS) (e.g., sulfuric acid and ammonia) or a non-EHS (e.g., diesel fuel) that is present on-site at or above the applicable threshold at any one time during a calendar year (e.g., 2019). Generally, the threshold for an EHS is the lower of 500 lb or the EHS's Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ); for a non-EHS, the threshold is 10,000 lb. If triggered at a facility for a given calendar year (e.g., 2019), a facility's Tier II report covering that year must be submitted by the following March 1 (e.g., in 2020) to the state (in most cases). You can find your state’s Tier II portal here.
Reporting due between June 1 and September 30, 2020 is quadrennial Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) at 40 CFR Part 711. For the past year or more, U.S. EPA has been reviewing the CDR regulations and considering revisions. A recent rulemaking process was supposed to have been concluded by the end of 2019. Given that the applicable CDR regulations for 2020 reporting are not yet public, the following summary information conforms to the existing regulations, which could change between now and the start of the reporting period.
In the case of a scrap recycler, CDR applies if it imports 25,000 lb or more (yes, pounds) of scrap metal to any one U.S. facility during a calendar year. The 25,000-lb threshold is calculated for each metallic element in an alloy, which is considered a mixture of metals. For instance, if 40,000 lb were imported consisting of 50% iron and 50% aluminum, no reporting would be required because neither metal reached 25,000 lb; however, if the same amount were 75% iron and 25% aluminum, then iron would be reported, but not aluminum. To determine amounts by metallic element, recyclers may use known or “reasonably ascertainable” information about their imported scrap metal (i.e., an assay is not required; an approximate composition may be used). CDR does not apply to processing of domestically sourced scrap metal, including shearing, chopping, baling, shredding, and even sweating.
For consuming activities, CDR applies if produced slags or byproducts (i.e., metal oxides) are converted to metal or another chemical substance and also if a mineral is imported for the purpose of alloying. The same annual 25,000-lb threshold per U.S. facility applies.
CDR does provide an exemption for a small manufacturer, including an importer. A “small manufacturer or importer” meets one of the two conditions: (1) annual sales of $40 million company-wide but no reportable quantities above 100,000 lb; or (2) annual sales of $4 million company-wide, without any limits on reportable quantities.
Reporting in 2020 covers reportable activities during Calendar Years 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Calendar Year 2019 is the Principal Year for which more information must be reported. CDR information must be reported electronically via EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) system.
ISRI has CDR guidance on and will provide updates on CDR when the revised regulations are known later this year. EPA’s CDR information can be found online.
After 2020, Tier II reporting will be back in 2021, but CDR is not scheduled to return until 2024. However—barring any significant changes to the existing CDR regulations—recyclers that consider themselves likely to report in 2024 should consider, if they have not done so already, setting up their information systems to capture importing transactions to facilitate CDR compliance.