In 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate discarded PVC as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. The EPA swiftly denied the petition under TSCA but never ruled on the regulation under RCRA. The Center for Biological Diversity sued EPA in August 2021 to force the agency to act under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act petition.
We know PVC is one of the most widely used forms of plastic in roofing and building materials, but it is also in numerous items we use every day such as children’s toys, healthcare necessities, clothing, consumer packaging, electronics and many other household goods. However, CBD states that this material can be harmful to humans and habitats alike. Remember the ongoing effort to ban plastic straws? This is in that same vein.
After being compelled to address this matter by a court and to avoid further legal action, the EPA proposed a consent decree that includes deadlines for the agency to act. EPA will make a preliminary decision by Jan. 20, 2023, and a final decision by April 12, 2024.
When NRCA learned of these developments, we immediately took action to oppose this potential regulation that could be determinantal to our industry and the broader economy.
We have engaged with our coalition partners, particularly the experts at the Vinyl Institute, Single Ply Roofing Institute (SPRI), Chemical Fabrics & Film Association (CFFA), and American Chemistry Council. We have held numerous discussions with our manufacturing members to strategize how to best provide EPA with the data it needs from our industry to make an informed decision. We have reached out to EPA itself to express our concerns and engaged our allies on Capitol Hill proactively should we need a legislative fix in the future.
If PVC is categorized as hazardous waste, the EPA would have to develop a comprehensive framework to ensure its treatment, storage and disposal. This would likely be very costly, burdensome and particularly hit small businesses hard. We will continue to keep our members and the industry apprised of any developments as we enter the new year.
If you have any data or anecdotes to share on how this could affect your business that we could use in our efforts, please contact me at Dmazol@nrca.net.
Ned Monroe, President and CEO of the Vinyl Institute, recently sat down with BE to talk about the Vinyl Institute’s petition to the potential EPA ruling on regulating PVC as a hazardous waste as well. Listen in as Ned discusses the background of the EPA's potential ruling and what this means for businesses in the construction industry if they rule PVC as hazardous waste.