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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
11/15/1989--Introduced. National Recyclable Commodities Act of 1989 - Title I: Department of Commerce Recycling Requirements - Directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a Bureau of Recyclable Commodities within the Department of Commerce to promote the recycling of materials contained in municipal refuse. Requires the Secretary to gather and publish statistics on municipal refuse, pre-consumer refuse, specified types of materials contained in municipal refuse, and recycled materials. Provides for the annual updating of such statistics. Directs the Secretary to: (1) designate between six and ten multi-State regions for the purpose of regional data collection; and (2) collect and compile statistics for such regions. Requires the Secretary to revise the standard industrial classification system, as necessary, to facilitate the collection of statistics and other information on recycling and related activities. Requires the Secretary to identify and, to the extent practicable, standardize: (1) the types and grades of municipal refuse material covered under this Act that qualify as recyclable commodities; (2) the technical specifications applied to the use of recyclable commodities as raw materials or feedstocks for recycling; and (3) the test methods used in determining whether refuse materials meet specifications that apply to each commodity. Provides for the periodic revision of types and grades, as necessary. Authorizes the Secretary to assign municipal refuse materials to multiple types and grades. Requires the periodic revision of specifications and test methods to ensure continuing conformance to industry recycling standards. Directs the Secretary to establish an advisory panel to support the identification of specifications and test methods for recyclable commodities. Permits industries or local governments engaged in recycling activities to petition the Secretary for the revision of types, grades, specifications, or test methods to prevent or minimize interference with current recycling techniques. Requires the Secretary to issue a recycling advisory to potentially affected parties if a physical or chemical property or contaminant of a recyclable commodity is not adequately addressed by specifications or test methods and is interfering with: (1) current recycling techniques; (2) marketing of recycled goods manufactured from the commodity; or (3) handling of the recyclable commodity prior to recycling. Directs the Secretary to make reports available to the public, at least on a quarterly basis, on prevailing market prices for recyclable commodities. Requires the Secretary to make reports available to the public, at least annually, on: (1) the prevailing national recycling rate for each recyclable commodity; and (2) the technical and economic factors that may influence future foreign and domestic markets for recyclable commodities. Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on the potential for expanded recycling of waste paper and paperboard, lead scrap, rubber scrap, plastic scrap, ferrous and nonferrous scrap, waste glass, and yard and food waste. Requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations requiring labeling on the recyclability and composition of packaging, containers, and nondurable goods. Sets deadlines for the promulgation of such regulations, requiring regulations for all covered items within four years of this Act's enactment. Directs the Secretary, when determining the type of label to be required on an item, to determine the recyclability of such item. Sets forth label requirements. Requires nonrecyclable items to bear a label stating that they are nonrecyclable by Federal standards. Authorizes the Secretary to establish an alternative label requirement if such alternative conveys information equivalent to labels required by this Act. Authorizes exemptions from labeling requirements if the Secretary determines that labeling will interfere with normal use or handling. Prohibits such exemptions if the manufacturer's or distributor's trade name appears on the packaging, container, or nondurable good. Requires the Secretary to review and, as necessary, revise labeling regulations. Permits industries or local governments engaged in recycling activities to petition the Secretary for revisions of regulations or labeling requirements. Directs the Secretary to publish a standardized, national recyclability seal to further assist purchasers in identifying recyclable packaging, containers, and nondurable goods. Authorizes the Secretary, when a person is in violation of labeling requirements, to: (1) issue a recall order requiring the removal of the item from sale or distribution in commerce; or (2) commence a civil action against such person. Permits the assessment of civil penalties for noncompliance with an order. Requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations defining minimum content requirements for packaging, containers, or nondurable goods labeled as recycled. Directs the Secretary to issue and periodically revise guidelines for the use of procuring agencies in complying with this Act. Requires such guidelines to set forth information concerning the procurement of recycled items. Sets deadlines for the revision and issuance of guidelines for specified items. Requires the Secretary to establish standards for the level of recycled content in recycled paper and paperboard goods purchased by procuring agencies. Phases in minimum recycled content standards for such goods, requiring 50 percent of paper goods procured by Federal agencies to have a recycled content of at least 50 percent by 1992. Permits the Secretary to establish more stringent targets and schedules for the procurement of recycled paper goods. Authorizes the Secretary to establish minimum content standards for other items, as necessary. Requires procuring agencies which procure items designated in the guidelines to procure items composed of the highest percentage of recycled content practicable or which are in conformance with minimum content standards issued by the Secretary. Makes exceptions to such requirements if procurement items: (1) are not reasonably available within a reasonable period of time; (2) fail to meet performance standards set forth in specifications or standards of the procuring agencies; or (3) are only available at an unreasonable price. States that an unreasonable price is one which exceeds the price of alternative items by more than ten percent. Requires contracting offices at procuring agencies to require vendors to: (1) certify that the percentage of recycled content used in the contract will be at least the amount required by specifications or contractual requirements; and (2) estimate the percentage of the total material used in the contract which is recycled. Applies such requirements to contracts in which the purchase price of procurement items exceeds $10,000. Directs procuring agencies to develop affirmative procurement programs to assure that items composed of recycled content will be purchased to the maximum extent practicable. Requires such agencies to: (1) adopt procedures equivalent to those specified in the guidelines and to set equivalent minimum content standards; and (2) maintain records on types, quantities, and percentages of items composed of recycled content which are purchased or contracted for by the agency and report such statistics annually to the Secretary. Requires the Secretary to report annually to the Congress on actions taken by Federal agencies to implement such procurement policies. Repeals a section of the Solid Waste Disposal Act concerning Federal procurement of recovered materials. Directs the Secretary to review and, if necessary, revise guidelines issued by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency after November 8, 1984, pursuant to Federal procurement provisions of the Solid Waste Disposal Act. Requires the Secretary to develop a program to promote the export of recyclable commodities for recycling by foreign industries. Directs the Secretary to make available to the public information identifying potential foreign buyers of recyclable commodities. Requires the Secretary to develop a program to promote the export of recycled goods produced in the United States. Directs the Secretary to integrate this program with existing programs promoting such exports. Requires the Secretary to make available to the public statistics and information on: (1) recycling techniques employed by foreign industries; (2) available export markets for recyclable commodities; (3) specifications and test methods employed by foreign industries to assess commodity quality; (4) prevailing prices in foreign markets for recyclable commodities; and (5) other information on export markets. Directs the Secretary to establish a national recycling clearinghouse through which all statistics and other information on recycling and related activities shall be made available to the public. Requires the Secretary to conduct a national advertising campaign to promote recycling and the purchase of recycled goods. Prohibits the Secretary from endorsing specific products or trade names. Authorizes the Secretary to publish recycling rates for specific refuse materials or recyclable commodities and for types of containers, packaging, or goods. Directs the Secretary to make grants to accredited institutions of higher education to establish at least four to six recycling research centers in the United States. Requires the Secretary to establish such centers equitably among the regions of the United States. Directs each center to carry out at least one project relating to research on the composting of yard waste, food waste, or waste paper and paperboard. Authorizes such centers, as necessary to conduct research, to enter into contracts with: (1) persons involved in recycling activities; (2) State and local governments; and (3) nonprofit private entities which are exempt from Federal taxation. Limits the Federal share of grants to 80 percent of the total cost of establishing and operating the research center. Prohibits the use of such grants for the acquisition of real property or for building construction. Requires at least 40 percent of the funds made available to each center to be allocated to projects performed jointly by the center and local governments with expertise in areas critical to such research. Sets forth grant selection criteria. Requires the Secretary to establish a program for the source separation and collection of materials contained in refuse from Federal agencies. Directs the Secretary to issue guidelines for such program. Requires Federal office facilities with more than 25 workers to carry out such programs. Provides for the retention by a Federal agency of any funds received from the sale of collected materials and any savings in refuse disposal costs resulting from the implementation of such programs. Authorizes the Secretary to conduct an independent technical assessment of any product specification or standard that may: (1) disfavor the use of a recyclable commodity as a substitute for comparable virgin feedstocks or raw materials in the manufacture of the product; and (2) have a substantial adverse impact on existing or potential markets for the recyclable commodity. Prohibits the Secretary from reviewing specifications or standards established by individual firms or persons. Requires the Secretary to publish and make available to the public the findings of the technical assessment. Permits industries or local governments engaged in recycling activities to petition for an independent technical assessment of any specification or standard. Requires the Secretary to establish an interagency working group to assist in the development of regulations and guidelines and the collection of information required by this Act. Sets forth provisions concerning citizen suits and judicial review of final regulations. Authorizes appropriations. Repeals a section of the Solid Waste Disposal Act concerning resource and recovery functions of the Secretary. Title II: Tax Incentives for Certain Recycling and Remanufacturing Facilities - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to treat qualified recycling facilities as solid waste disposal facilities under tax exempt bond rules. Exempts qualified government-owned recycling facilities from a volume cap. Allows an investment tax credit of 15 percent of the qualified investment for remanufacturing equipment. Provides that such equipment shall cease to be section 38 property when it ceases to be qualified remanufacturing property.