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​NWRA announces support for RECYCLE ACT; wins hours-of-service exemption

New bill would establish consumer recycling education and outreach grant program within the U.S. EPA; exemption grant historic win for waste industry

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The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) has announced its strong support for U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Debbie Stabenow's (D-MI) "Recycling Enhancements to Collection and Yield through Consumer Learning and Education (RECYCLE) Act of 2019."

The legislation, introduced in the U.S. Senate November 21st, aims to increase both the quality and quantity of recycled materials. The bill would establish a consumer recycling education and outreach grant program within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to clean up America's recycling stream.

"NWRA welcomes this bipartisan legislation as our industry works to address the challenges it faces from the loss of China as a market for recyclable commodities," said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. "We are pleased that the RECYCLE Act recognizes the important roles that non-proft organizations as well as public-private partnerships can play in increasing collection rates and decreasing contamination in residential recycling programs."
According to NWRA, providing funding for education and outreach to inform consumers and households about what is accepted in their residential recycling programs is an important step in increasing both the quantity and quality of recycled material. The association says it looks forward to working with Senators Portman and Stabenow to encourage passage of this bill, and on their future efforts to incentivize upgrades to America's recycling infrastructure.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced this November that it would grant the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) a rare Hours-of-Service exemption exclusively to its members that will eliminate the need for them to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) as otherwise is required under new rules. NWRA first made this request in November 2018.

"This is a historic win for our members in the waste and recycling industry," said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith. "While NWRA recognizes the safety benefits that ELDs present for other sectors, these devices are actually counterproductive for our industry and increase risks associated with distracted driving due to the frequency that waste and recycling industry drivers must interact with them. We are pleased that FMCSA agreed with our petition for an exemption for the members of our association."

Under the exemption, the time limit for waste and recycling collection drivers to return to their work reporting location is increased from 12 hours to 14 hours. The daily driving limit remains at 11 hours. FMCSA granted NWRA member company Waste Management's request for such an exemption on Oct. 25, 2018, citing the ready-mix concrete and asphalt pavement industries, due to the waste and recycling industry's similarities with both industries. Other NWRA members have since filed requests with FMCSA for the same exemption. Granting this exemption specifically to NWRA members brings consistent rulemaking across the association's membership.

"It is estimated that the ELD requirement would have cost our members $116.7 million over 2 years," stated Jim Riley, NWRA Chief Counsel & Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. "That does not include fines levied on drivers and carriers for exceeding the daily 11-hour driving limit due to ELD technology not being able to accurately record all the on-duty, but non-driving tasks drivers perform each day. This cost savings will enable our members to grow their businesses and create more good-paying jobs."
NWRA is only the third association to receive a year-round exemption. FMCSA has previously granted this exemption to the American Concrete Pumping Association and the National Asphalt Pavement Association. The exemption's effective date is upon its publication in the Federal Register and is good for five years.

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