1999: This legislation is not perfect, as it does not prevent Yard Waste from being used as clean fill or disposed in Construction/Demolition landfills or burned.
HB 2101- Yard Waste Disposal Ban Legislation Is Finally Here!
Dear fellow Pennsylvania environmentalists:
Please call your local Pennsylvania House representative to support HB 2101. It was introduced by Rep. David Levdansky (D) and Rep. David Steil (R). So far, it has 35 co-sponsors, including Rep. Arthur Hershey (R), the Chairman of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and Rep. H. William DeWeese (D), Democratic Leader of the House!
HB 2101 prohibits the disposal of yard waste in Pennsylvania. This is the critical part of the legislation. Hopefully, a yard waste disposal ban will be the first in a series of waste disposal bans passed by the PA assembly that will make Pennsylvania an increasingly unattractive dumping destination for out-of-state waste. In addition, Rep. Levdansky added a mandatory requirement that PA recycle 35% of its municipal waste. Although that part of the legislation does not affect imports, Rep. Levdansky felt that it was long overdue.
I've been working on the issue of waste disposal bans for over three years. I truly believe this is the key to protecting states from out-of-state waste, under present circumstances. Frankly, we need a mandatory federal plan that maximizes waste reduction and recycling...and ends waste disposal. Maybe, some day soon, lawsuits will be filed to compel the EPA to develop and implement such a plan. But, until then, the states are on their own.
This is Pennsylvania's chance to tell other states and countries that we're not going to keeping taking their trash! Please call or write you representative now! If your representative says that he will (or won't) support the HB 2101, please send that information back to me.
Below is a letter that was sent by ZWA to every member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives:
Dear Pennsylvania Legislator:
Thank you if you already support HB 2101. With the passage of a Yard Waste Disposal Ban, Pennsylvania can take a meaningful step toward curbing waste imports and extending landfill capacity.
The federal courts have clearly indicated that states can control imports through waste disposal restrictions such as 'waste disposal bans.' For disposal bans to be effective they must be comprehensive and apply equally to both in-state and out-of-state waste. The more disposal bans the Pennsylvania legislature passes, the less attractive Pennsylvania will be as a depository for waste imports.
The proposed federal legislation of the last several years will not protect states from waste imports, because it gives local communities the ability to sign contracts with waste companies, effectively over-riding any state action to curb imports.
No hard statistics on yard waste 'disposal' in Pennsylvania are available from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), although the DEP reported that in 1997, 312,560 tons of yard waste was collected for composting. The EPA reports that yard waste generation accounts for approximately 13.4% of the municipal waste stream, with a recovery (i.e., composting) rate of 39%. Therefore, in 1997, 8.2% of all in-state and out-of-state municipal waste (14.4 million tons) disposed in Pennsylvania could have been yard waste.
Using both EPA and DEP figures, a Yard Waste Disposal Ban in 1997 could have prevented the disposal of between 1,200,000 to 800,000 tons of yard waste in Pennsylvania landfills.
Many programs are already in place to collect and compost yard waste. Act 101 requires more than 400 communities to collect yard waste for composting. More than 80 municipal leaf composting facilities are in operation in Pennsylvania. DEP awarded 43 grants totaling $2.9 million to local municipalities for composting programs in FY 1997-98.
DEP officials have claimed that PA already has a Yard Waste Disposal Ban in place, but we do not. Act 101, Section 1502 only restricts the transportation of "leaf waste" for disposal, to "truck loads composed primarily of leaf waste." The regulation does not prohibit the disposal of yard waste by other means, nor by an unlimited number of trucks that are not "composed primarily of leaf waste." In addition, the current definition of "leaf waste" does not include grass clippings.
Current list of co-sponsors:
HB 2101 By Representatives LEVDANSKY, STEIL, HERSHEY, LEDERER, LAUGHLIN,
For more information on Disposal Bans and Waste Imports, see - Zero Waste