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One of the more recent messages metalcasters have been taking to Capitol Hill is that the industry has been highly engaged in recycling and sustainability, even before it was cool. This has been a part of the industry’s key message on several recent trips to Washington D.C., and it resonates with both sides of the aisle. The beneficial use of foundry sand is something the industry can share as a posi- tive example of sustainability.

AFS recently held a webinar on the Beneficial Use of Foundry Sand which highlighted the release of the USEPA USDA Risk Assessment and how its existence is positively

impacting and likely to further impact new beneficial use rules in each state.

Part of the AFS webinar highlighted how Michigan was successful in recently rewriting their beneficial use rules. While the risk assessment was the centerpiece of this industry success story and the crux of the case for expand- ing reuse, another critical element came into play as the regulatory changes were proposed: simple, long-standing relationships that had been nurtured over time. You can watch the recorded webinar at

came together to lay the ground- work for reform, including the Foundry Association of Michigan, Michigan Chemistry Council, Michigan Manufacturers Associa- tion, the pulp and paper industry, utilities, and other state metalcast- ing groups from Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana. These other manu- facturing contacts, energy produc- ers, paper mills and industries producing recyclable materials still being landfilled all played a role in getting the new rule under the governor’s pen. While these connections seemed relatively unimportant initially, their value was immeasurable once the groups were joined in a common cause to increase industrial byproduct recycling in Michigan. Cultivating key relationships with elected officials also played a role in eventual success. Invit- ing them to plants to show what metalcasters did and how they did it, sometimes many years before this legislation was proposed, was incredibly valuable. Several of the elected officials who voted on whether the beneficial use bill made it out of committee had been visitors to metalcasting facilities. Interestingly, many of the elected officials actually recog- nized the metalcasting represen- tatives and called them by name when testifying on behalf of this new rule.

The Payoff Eventually, Michigan pulled

together a commission to look at the beneficial use rules. The indus- try groups had been clamoring for change for years, citing other states that were more progressive in encouraging plants to recycle their byproducts. Because of the vocal, visible contingent, the met- alcasting industry was invited to testify at various hearings on the subject.

The hearings culminated in the

introduction of House Bills 5400- 5402 in March 2014 to amend a portion of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to promote beneficial use in Michigan. In the bills, beneficial use byproducts included: • Metalcasting sand. • Coal/wood ash. • Pulp and paper mill residuals. • Cement/lime kiln dusts. • Spend sand blast media. During testimony to support

the bills, metalcasting represen- tatives had two key persuasive points: the success of neighbor- ing states in beneficial use reform and the newly completed EPA risk assessment that provided a comprehensive independent study that concluded using recycled metalcasting sand in soil applica- tions was safe and environmentally beneficial. Based on studies con- ducted by the USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and the application of highly conserva- tive screening techniques and risk screening models, this document concluded no evidence existed

that specified uses of metalcast- ing sand posed significant risks to human health or the environ- ment. Further, the concentrations of metals in the metalcasting sand are similar to those found in native soils in the U.S. and Canada. On September 16, 2014, Gov-

ernor Rick Snyder signed into state law House Bill 5400—Michigan’s Beneficial Use Public Act. Eighty percent of U.S. met-

alcasting facilities employ fewer than 100 individuals. When you are that small, it can be difficult to gain traction in any setting. In the case of Michigan’s benefi- cial use reform, as metalcasting members bound together with their other industry brethren, two things became obvious. First, by adding other industry recycling interests, they had gained criti- cal mass relative to the positive economic impact that recycling could bring to a greater variety of manufacturers. Second, the EPA/USDA Foundry Sand Risk Assessment was the envy of industry counterparts. This will be a critical element for other local groups looking to improve or create sound beneficial use rules. Combining it with a foun- dation of relationships built out- side of the metalcasting industry bubble with other trade asso- ciations, industries and elected officials, will put metalcasters in a stronger position to reach goals in their state.

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