July 21, 2010
STATE AGENCY OVERSIGHT OF PRIVATE TRASH HAULERS; RECYCLING
By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst
You want to know (1) what state agency oversees private trash haulers, (2) whether commercial businesses must recycle, and (3) whether it is legal for private trash haulers to mix recyclables with nonrecyclables.
State law requires solid waste facilities and hazardous waste haulers to be licensed, but it does not require trash haulers to be licensed. Thus, trash haulers are not subject to the state agency oversight normally associated with licensees. But the Department of Environment (DEP) may issue stop orders to correct or abate violations of solid waste laws by anyone, including trash haulers. And the court may impose a civil penalty of up to $25,000 on people, including trash haulers, who violate the solid waste management chapter. Also, trash haulers are subject to laws of general applicability, including illegal dumping and truck weight limits. Unsuccessful proposals to license trash haulers, thereby subjecting them to state licensing oversight, date back to at least 2001.
By law, trash haulers must register in the municipality in which they haul solid waste and disclose the name of other municipalities in which they haul waste. But the statutes do not specify the nature, if any, of municipal oversight that comes with registration. Public Act 10-87 specifies some registration and reporting requirements that trash haulers must meet.
State recycling laws apply to everyone, including commercial businesses. Residential properties must separate items designated for recycling from other solid waste. Nonresidential facilities must make provision for separating such items.
The law prohibits trash haulers from knowingly mixing recyclables and nonrecyclables. Public Act 10-97 extends this prohibition to everyone. According to the DEP, if someone observes a trash hauler mixing trash and recyclables, he or she should call town hall and ask to speak with the local coordinator or call DEP at (860) 424-3365 and file a complaint.
OVERSIGHT OF TRASH HAULERS
State law does not require trash haulers to be licensed. Hence, they are not subject, in their capacity as trash haulers, to the agency oversight associated with licensees, although they are subject to state agency oversight with regards to laws of general applicability (e.g., truck weight limits and illegal dumping). The law also allows the DEP commissioner to issue, modify, or revoke orders correcting or abating violations of the solid waste management chapter committed by anyone, including trash haulers, or adopt other remedial measures to correct or abate violations (CGS § 22a-225). And the court may assess a civil penalty of up to $25,000 on people who violate the chapter (CGS § 22a-226).
Legislation to require licensing of trash haulers, which would subject them to state licensing oversight, has been proposed, unsuccessfully, dating back as far as 2001 (Raised Bill 6756). This includes House Bill 324, which was introduced in the Environment Committee in 2009 (see Attachment 1).
Senate Bill 324
The original bill required, among other things, (1) trash haulers to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and file annual audited financial reports with the department; (2) DCP to approve any sale, merger, or acquisition of any trash hauling company; and (3) all five-percent owners, directors, officers, and managers to undergo state and national criminal history record checks. It made violations an unfair trade practice. And it required the DCP commissioner to (1) set the fee for the license, which was valid for five years, and (2) establish a bill of rights for consumers concerning the services provided by licensees. It authorized DCP to deny or revoke a license if:
1. the applicant did not have the expertise or competence;
2. anyone listed in the application had been convicted of murder, robbery, bribery, extortion, criminal usury, arson, burglary, tax evasion, tax fraud, felonious larceny, forgery, fraud, alteration of motor vehicle identification numbers, racketeering, violation of any criminal or civil provision of state or federal environmental protection antitrust, law, rule or regulation; or
3. the applicant's financial condition is such that it would harm consumers.
The Environment Committee referred the bill to the General Law Committee, which reported a substitute bill.
Substitute Senate Bill 324
The substitute bill differed from the committee bill mainly in the following respects. It required trash haulers to be registered annually, rather than licensed, by DCP. It set the registration fee at $250 per year. It allowed DCP to revoke, suspend, or otherwise refuse a registration to anyone who:
1. failed to comply with the bill;
2. obtained the certificate through fraud or misrepresentation;
3. engaged in conduct likely to mislead, deceive, or defraud;
4. engaged in misleading or untruthful advertising;
5. engaged in an unfair or deceptive business practice; or
6. failed to maintain a certificate of good standing from the secretary of the state, if applicable.
It specifically authorized DCP to impose the following civil penalties on people who (1) worked without or under an expired certificate or (2) violated other provisions relating to the certificate: $500 for a first violation, (2) $750 for a second violation occurring not more than three years after a prior violation, and (3) $1,500 for a third or subsequent violation occurring not more than three years after a prior violation (see Attachment 2).
The General Law Committee reported the bill to the Senate, and the Senate referred it to the Appropriations Committee, which took no action on it.
Registration and Reporting Requirements and Public Act 10-87
By law, trash haulers must (1) register with the municipality in which they haul waste generated by residential, business, commercial, or other establishments and (2) disclose the name of any other municipality in which they haul waste (CGS § 22a-220a(d)). Public Act 10-87 (Attachment 3) makes changes affecting registration and reporting requirements. These provisions took effect on July 1, 2010.
Registration Requirements. Public Act 10-87 sets the registration period at one year and specifies that the registration must include the following information: (1) the hauler and company owner's name and address; (2) the types of facilities from which the waste will be hauled (i.e., residential, commercial, or “other”); (3) the type of waste hauled; (4) the anticipated disposal facility or end user location for recyclable solid waste; and (5) any other information the municipality requires to ensure the health and safety of its residents.
Reporting Requirements. The act establishes several reporting requirements for trash haulers. Beginning July 31, 2011, they must report annually to municipalities (1) the types of solid waste they collected in the previous fiscal year; (2) the name, location, and contact information for the first destination where they delivered waste and recyclables; and (3) the types and actual or estimated amount they delivered out of state or to a Connecticut end user or manufacturer. The report must also provide any other information the commissioner deems necessary (§ 10(d)(2)).
Beginning by July 31, 2011, the act also requires trash haulers hauling solid waste from, or to, an in-state entity, other than a permitted resources recovery facility, to report annually to DEP on the (1) types of solid waste and recyclables collected; (2) for municipal waste, the originating municipalities; (3) the amount delivered by weight, volume, or other measure acceptable to DEP, including recyclables; and (4) the name, address, and contact information of the recipient (§ 12).
Finally, the act requires trash haulers hauling municipal solid waste generated in the state and delivering it to a permitted resources recovery facility, to inform the receiving facility of (1) the originating regional facility; (2) the originating municipality, if the waste did not pass through a regional facility; or (3) the original regional facility or state if the waste originated outside the state. (But since this requirement appears to apply only to collectors hauling municipal solid waste generated in the state, it is unclear how it applies to waste originated outside the state.) Trash haulers must estimate the amount of waste per municipality if the waste load comes from more than one municipality (§ 12).
APPLICABILITY OF RECYCLING LAWS
State recycling laws apply to everyone, including commercial businesses, municipalities, and state agencies. Residential facilities must separate items designated for recycling from other solid waste. Nonresidential facilities, including commercial businesses, must make provisions for such separation (CGS § 22a-241b(c)).
The following items are designated recyclable items under DEP regulations (Conn. Agency Regs. § 22a-241b-2):
1. glass and metal food and beverage containers),
2. corrugated cardboard and newspaper,
3. white office paper (residences exempt),
4. scrap metal,
5. nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries (from consumer products),
6. waste oil (crankcase oil from internal combustion engines)
7. storage batteries (from motor vehicles),
8. leaves (must be composted), and
9. grass clippings (should be left on the lawn or composted).
Public Act 10-87 requires DEP to add, by October 1, 2011, (1) containers of three gallons or less made of polyethylene terephthalate plastic and high-density polyethylene plastic; (2) boxboard; and (3) additional types of paper, including magazines, residential high-grade white paper, and colored ledger paper (§ 3). Many municipalities require additional items to be recycled, including plastic bottles, magazines, paper beverage cartons (such as drink boxes and milk and juice cartons); boxboard (such as cereal and cracker boxes); and discarded mail.
Under CGS § 22a-241i, a municipality may impose a penalty of up to $500 on commercial businesses that do not make provisions for recycling. CGS § 22a-226 also allows the court to assess a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for a violation of the solid waste management chapter, which includes failure to segregate designated recyclables from other solid waste.
MIXING RECYCLABLES WITH OTHER SOLID WASTE
It is illegal for trash haulers to knowingly mix items designated for recycling with other solid waste. (Also, trash haulers must (1) warn customers they suspect of violating separation requirements and (2) help towns identify customers whose loads are found by a resource recovery facility to have significant quantities of recyclables (CGS § 22a-220c).
Under CGS § 22a-220(f), a trash hauler who knowingly mixes items designated for recycling with other solid waste is subject to a penalty of up to $2,500 for a first violation and up to $10,000 for any subsequent violation. CGS § 22a-226d also allows municipalities to establish, by ordinance, a penalty of up to $1,000 for a violation of this statute. And CGS § 22a-226 allows the court to assess a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for a violation of the solid waste management chapter, which includes trash haulers. It is unclear under what circumstances a specific penalty would apply.
Public Act 10-87 (§ 3) prohibits anyone, including trash haulers, from knowingly combining previously segregated designated recyclable items with other solid waste.