Proposed OSHA silica rules of concern to recycling industry
Skirmish lines are forming between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the newly established Silica Coalition. The coalition comprises more than 20 industry associations with members who are routinely exposed to crystalline silica dust during construction, demolition and recycling.
Exposure to airborne silica dust, which causes silicosis, occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, stone and drywall. Silica is also used in products like asphalt shingles, and in other manufacturing operations using sand products. Many of these operations affect the recycling industry.
OSHA has issued a proposed rule, not a final rule, aimed at curbing silicosis, an incurable and progressive lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary and kidney disease. The proposal essentially aims to cut in half the current permissible exposure limits (PELs) for respirable crystalline silica to lower worker exposure. OSHA believes that current PEL levels kill hundreds of workers and sicken thousands. ...read more
More states ban organic waste in landfills
After a six-month program in which restaurants volunteered to keep commercial food waste out of landfills, New York City is planning to ban food scraps from hotels, hospitals and other large generators from being landfilled entirely. The city would join Northeastern states Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, as well as West Coast cities Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, all of which have banned landfill disposal of food waste from large commercial food waste generators.
The New York City proposal made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in November 2013 would affect facilities generating more than one ton of food waste per week. It would require food waste to be collected and sent to a composting facility or to an anaerobic digester for conversion to energy. Bloomberg’s office said the bill would affect less than five percent of the city’s largest food waste generators. However, it would reportedly cover 30 percent of commercial organic waste, or more than 250,000 tons annually.
Connecticut was the first state to ban commercial food waste from landfills. In 2011, it passed a state law requiring generators of two or more tons of food waste per week to recycle the materials rather than sending them to a landfill if located within 20 miles of a suitable recycling facility. ...read more