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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: EPA Joins Renewal of Mercury Switch Recovery Program Through Smart Sectors

11/15/2018
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON  — Today, as part of America Recycles Day, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler renewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP) to reduce mercury air emissions.

What EPA Smart Sectors partners are saying:

Philip K. Bell, Steel Manufacturers Association President: “As the largest recyclers in North America, SMA’s members are committed to practical and cost-effective removal of mercury from the scrap metal supply. We are proud to have been an original signatory to this MOU and to be here today to renew the agreement.”

Thomas J. Gibson, American Iron and Steel Institute President and CEO: “Cars are America’s most recycled consumer good containing America’s most recycled material—steel. Mercury contamination is detrimental to the auto-scrap recycling infrastructure, and the environment, if not removed responsibly. Since 2006, this program has facilitated the removal of millions of mercury switches that can be found in older model cars. The collaboration represented in this program is an example of what can be accomplished when the government and private sector join forces to conserve and preserve the environment.”

Dan Adsit, End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation President: “We are happy that EPA has re-affirmed its commitment to this important nationwide program. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, SMA and AISI, in our ongoing effort to recycle automotive mercury switches.”

Sandy Blalock, Automotive Recyclers Association Executive Director: “We are proud that our Certified Automotive Recyclers Program certification program requires that the company participate in the NVMSRP or equivalent state program. Not only is the professional automotive recycling industry a vibrant and thriving part of the automotive supply chain in the U.S., representing over $32 billion in sales annually, the industry also employs over 140,000 people.”

Robin Wiener, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries President: “The renewal of the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program is a victory for recyclers, the auto industry, and the environment. The program allows for the safe and secure removal of mercury switches from vehicles. ISRI encourages all of its members who handle end-of-life vehicles to participate and benefit from this valuable program. We are proud to partner with the EPA and other signatories on this very important initiative.”

Learn more about the MOU: https://www.epa.gov/smartsectors/mercury-switch-recovery-program
Learn more about America Recycles Day: https://www.epa.gov/newsroom/recycling-protecting-environment-and-growing-economy-booklet

Background
Today’s MOU was also signed by the Steel Manufacturers Association, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation, the Automotive Recyclers Association, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Today’s action extends EPA's participation in the MOU until 2021.

EPA’s Smart Sectors program teed up the MOU for renewal with the NVMSRP, a collaboration to reduce mercury air emissions, which was initially designed by EPA’s Sectors program and its partners in 2006. By diverting the switches from the waste stream, the program has prevented the release of more than 7.6 tons of mercury into the atmosphere. Involving more than 10,000 recyclers, the NVMSRP has already removed and safely recycled more than 6.8 million mercury convenience light switches.

EPA Smart Sectors is a partnership program that provides a platform to collaborate with regulated sectors and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health.

Learn more: www.epa.gov/smartsectors

Acting Administrator Wheeler seated at a long table signing a paper with onlookersActing Administrator Wheeler signs the mercury switch MOU with representatives from the Steel Manufacturers Association, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the End of Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation, the Automotive Recyclers Association, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.