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<title>Federal Register:  March 1, 1994.  40 CFR Part 238.  Degradable Plastic Ring Carriers; Rule</title>
<type>single page tiff</type>
<keyword>ring carriers degradable carrier rule plastic degradation plastics astm epa elongation break marine agency test degrade tests conditions states processors</keyword>

           March 1, 1994
           Part Hi
           Protection  Agency

           40 CFR Part 238
           Degradable Plastic Ring Carriers; Rule

  9866       Federal Register  / Vol.  59. No.'40 ./ Tuesday, March  1, 1994 / Rules and Regulations

  40 CFR Part 238


  DegradabJe Plastic Ring Rule

  AGENCY: Environmental Protection
  Agency, EPA.
  ACTION; Final rule.	

  SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection
  Agency is issuing this final rule in
  response to "Degradable Plastic Ring
  Carriers" (Pub. L. 100-556), which in
  general provides that EPA shall require
  plastic ring carriers (for beverage cans)
  bo made of degradable material. The
  statute requires that such ring carriers
  must bo processed from a material that.
  in addition to allowing the ring carrier
  to perform its intended use, degrades
  quickly and does not pose a greater
  threat to tho environment than
  nondegradabla materials.
   The Agency has chosen to require ring
  carrier processors to test their ring
  carriers using either a lab or an in situ
  test. The Agency has chosen a
  degradability performance standard for
  ring carriers, rather than specify a
  particular type ofdegradable plastic, to
 allow the processors of ring carriers the
 flexibility to use new technology.
 EFFECTIVE DATE: Part 238 is effective on
 September 1,1994. The incorporation
 by reference of American Society of
 Testing and Materials standards adopted
 in this rule is approved by the Director
 of tho Federal Register as of September
 1,1994 In accordance with 5 U.S.C.
 ADDRESSES: The public record for this
 rulemaJdng (docket number F-92-
 DPRF-FFFFF) is located at the Resource
 Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
 Docket Information Center, (5305), U.S.
 Environmental Protection Agency
 Headquarters, 401M Street, SW.,
 Washington, DC 20460. The public
 docket is located at EPA Headquarters
 and is available for viewing from 9 a.m.
 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday,  ,
 excluding Federal holidays.
 Appointments may be made by calling
 (202) 260-9327. Copies cost $0.15/page.
 general information, contact the RCRA/
 Superfund Hotline, Office of Solid
 Waste, U.S. Environmental Protection
 Agency, 401M Street SW., Washington,
DC 20460, (800) 424-9346. In the
Washington, DC metropolitan area, call
 (703) 412-9810. For information
regarding specific aspects of this notice.
  contact Tracy Bone, Office of Solid
  Waste (5306), USEPA, 401M Street
  SW., Washington. DC, 20460, telephone

  Preamble Outline            '. •
  I. Authority          :            •  •
  II. Background .
    A. Mechanisms of Degradation
    B. Factors Affecting Degradation
    C'Stafe Laws'
    D. Other Programs and Investigations   '
      Concerning Degradable Plastics   -
  ID. Summary of the Proposed Rule  :
  IV. Response to Comment
    A. Definition of Terms
    B. Testing Degradation
  x .C. Measuring Degradation
    D. Time Limit for Degradation
    E. Preemption of State Regulations
  V. Implementation and Summary of This
     Final Rule
  VI. Administrative Designation and
     Regulatory Analysis
    A. Regulatory Impact Analysis
    B. Executive Order 12875
    C Regulatory Flexibility Act
    D. Paperwork Reduction Act
  VII. References

  I. Authority
    The Environmental Protection Agency
  (EPA) is promulgating this rule under
  the authority of sections 101,102, and
  103 of Public Law 100-556 (the "Act"
  or "Statute"). Although this statute has
  been codified in Subtitle B of the
  Res/-—rce Conservation and Recovery
  Act (42 U.S.C.A. 6914b and 6914b-l), it
.  does not amend RCRA. In section 101 of
  this law, Congress found that: (1)
  Nondegradable plastic ring carrier"
  devices have been found in large
  quantities in the marine environment;
  (2) fish and other wildlife have become
  entangled in such ring carriers; (3) such
  ring carriers can remain intact in the
  marine environment for decades, posing
  a threat to fish and other marine
 wildlife; and (4) sixteen states (as of
  1988) had enacted laws requiring that
 ring carriers be made ofdegradable
 material in order to reduce litter and
 protect fish and wildlife. (As of 1991.
 eleven additional states have passed
 laws of this kind.)
   As a result of these findings, Congress
 required EPA under section 103 of the
 Act to promulgate a rule that would
 require that plastic ring carriers (as
 defined in section 102(1)) be made of
 "naturally degradable material which,
 when discarded, decomposes within a
 period established by such regulation."
 42 U.S.C. 6914b-l. The period to be
 established under the rule for such
 decomposition or degradation is to be
"the shortest period of time consistent
with the intended use of the item and
the physical integrity required-for such
  use." Id. Section 102(2) of the Act
  defines "naturally degradable material"
  to mean a "material which, when
  discarded, will be reduced to
 • environmentally benign subunits under
.  the action of normal environmental  '
  forces, such as, among others, biological
  decomposition, photodegradation, or .
  hydrolysis." 42 U.S.C. 6914b(2). EPA,
  however, may not require the use of a
  degradable ring carrier if it is not
  "feasible" or if the degradable ring
  carriers'present greater threats to the
  environment than nondegradable ring
  carriers. 42 U.S.C. 6914b-l.
 II. Background     .     '
    Concern about the disposal of plastic
 materials  dates back to the early 1970s.
 Degradable plastics were seen by .some
 as a solution for the problems of
 littering, landfill capacity, and wildlife
 entanglement and were developed for
 agricultural uses (mulch film, seedling'
 pots) as well as medical applications
 (sutures, implants).
    Renewed public concern over solid
 waste management and resource
 conservation in the past few years has
 been met by a resurgence of corporate
 and academic research into degradable
 plastics, and by the commercialization
 of various products designed to degrade.
 Specifically, there has been great
 interest in finding new degradable
 plastics-made from non-petroleum-
 derived materials.

 A. Mechanisms of Degradation
   Plastics  are polymers (chemicals
 made of repeating subunits) most often
 derived from petroleum. There are
 plastics derived from other natural
 materials that have many of the same
 properties as petroleum-derived plastics
 and have been used to make degradable
 products. Starch, for example, is a
 naturally-derived plastic that may
 include over 10,000 linked subunits.
 Lactic acid is used to make surgical
 sutures that degrade within the body
 after the incision has healed.
   Plastics degrade by a number of
 different physical and chemical
 processes:  In photodegradation, light
 causes physical changes that cause the
 plastic to become brittle and crumble
 into small pieces. Fragments may range
 in size from several centimeters in
 diameter to invisible macromolecular
 particles. All ring carriers in use
 currently, are made from low density
 polyethylene (LDPE) plastic and
 degrade in  this manner.
  Plastics also may be designed to be
 completely broken down and
 assimilated into the environment. These
 plastics differ from those that undergo
 photodegradation in that chemical

           "Federal Register 7 Vol. 59, No.  40 / Tuesday, March 1, 1994 / Rules and Regulations
changes occur in the structure of
polymer molecules, and the ultimate
products are different from the original
plastic. This chemical breakdown and
alteration may be caused by one of a  .
number of processes, including
chemical reactions with natural
compounds (e.g., dissolution by
naturally-occurring acids) and biological
activity (e.g., biodegradation).
Degradable plastics also may be
designed to combine degradation
processes; they may break down to
smaller fragments due to "
photodegradation and then rely on
biodegradation to complete the process.
  The Agency developed this rule based
on data available for the   '  -.
photpdegradable petroleum-based  '
plastic ethylene carbon monoxide (E/ "
CO), currently Used for ring carriers."
EPA discussed, in the proposal (April 7,
1993, 58 FR18062), new plastic
technology that could be used to make
ring carriers. EPA does not, however,
have specific information or data from
plastic technology'(other than E/CO)
that can be used to process ring carriers.
Despite the lack of information on new
technology, EPA does not intend to
impose any barriers to potential ring
carrier products.
B. Factors Affecting Degradation
  Two key factors affecting degradation
are the time required for degradation
and the environment in which
degradation takes place. Given enough
time or a harsh enough environment, all
materials, including plastics not
designed to degrade, will degrade. A
meaningful definition of degradability  •
must include a time limit that is
appropriate for the planned use of and
the ultimate method of disposal for the
specific degradable product.
  Environmental conditions also play a
critical role in controlling degradation.
The rate of biodegradation is primarily
determined by temperature, moisture,
and the presence of oxygen. For
example, biodegradation is very slow in
municipal solid waste landfills since
these facilities are generally engineered
to exclude water and air. In desert
environments, the absence of water
retards biodegradation. In northern
climates, temperature is typically the
factor that controls biodegradation rates.
The intensity and wavelengths of light
are the most important factors in   '
determining the rate of
photodegradation. Light intensity and
wavelength also play roles in some
types of biodegradation. Public Law
100-556 directs EPA to reduce the
threat of entanglement of marine fish
and wildlife; therefore, EPA requires
degradation be tested under marine
conditions (or equivalent laboratory
conditions).       . .    .      : :
C. State Laws
  In 197.7, the State of Vermont enacted
the first law banning the use of
nondegradable ring carriers. By the end
of 1991, 27- states had passed legislation
specifically prohibiting the sale of
nondegradable ring carriers. State
legislation typically is written to  •
prohibit the'sale of nondegradable ring-
carriers by retail, stores. Most of these
states indicated that the primary
purposes for adopting the legislation
were to promote Utter reduction and to
address wildlife entanglement concerns.
The states that have adopted legislation
banning nondegradable ring carriers, the
dates the legislation took effect, the time
limit required for degradation under
each state law, and allowable
mechanisms for degradation (as of
1992), are listed in reference 4.
D. Other Programs and Investigations
Concerning Degradable Plastics
  Reflecting the significant public and
legislative interest in the use of
degradable plastics, a number of
organizations have addressed the issues
related to degradable plastics in the past
few years. These organizations include •
EPA, the U.S. General Accounting
Office, the Congressional Office of
Technology Assessment, the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), the
U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
the National Institute of Standards and
Technology, the American Society for
testing and Materials (ASTM), the
Department of Defense, and many state
governments. Except for EPA, ASTM,;
and the Department of Defense, the
organizations and states addressing
degradable plastics issues typically are
focusing  more on litter and landfill
capacity problems than on the risk to
marine mammals or on degradation in
the marine environment.
  The ASTM D-20 committee (Ref. 1)
has developed standards for testing
degradable plastics under certain
environmental conditions (including
photodegradation and composting). EPA
is using two ASTM tests (specifically D—
5208-91  and D-3826-91) in this rule.
These tests are recommended by ASTM
for testing photodegradable plastic film.
ASTM is working on a test to simulate
and measure degradation under marine
conditions which could be used to test
biodegradable ring carriers under lab
conditions. Because of statutory
deadlines, EPA can not wait for ASTM
to approve that testr therefore, we have
included in this rule an in situ test that
could be used for biodegradable ring
carriers. EPA may, at a future date,
 review this rule to consider the effect of
 any new ASTM marine test. •
 III. Summary of the Proposed Rule
   On April 7,1993 (58 FR 18062), EPA  ,
 issued a proposal in response to Public
 Law 100-556. The Agency proposed a
 degradability performance standard for
 ring carriers rather than specify a
 particular type  of degradable plastic.
 The proposed performance standard
 included the same three factors in this
 rule's in situ test: A physical endpoint
 for degradation, a time limit for
 degradation, and marine environmental
 conditions. In the proposal, EPA
 referred to these factors as the
 performance standard.
   The proposed performance standard
 required testing in very specific marine
 conditions that would be more .costly
 than the currently employed lab tests.
 Therefore, the proposal also allowed a
 processor of photodegradable ring
 carriers to use lab tests to check the
 degradation of  the ring carriers as long
 as the lab tests  were equivalent to .the
 performance standard.
 IV. Response to Comment
   EPA received comments on the
 proposed rule from eighteen persons or
 . groups. This section summarizes and
 addresses the major comments. A
 discussion of the remaining comments
 can be found in a background document
 available in the RCRA Docket
 Information Center. See the
- "ADDRESSES" section at the beginning of
 this rule for information on getting a
 copy of the document.
 A. Definition of Terms
   In the April 7,1993 proposed rule,
 EPA proposed  three definitions: "5
 percent elongation at break",
 "processor" and "ring carrier." EPA
 received no comments on the
 definitions for  "processor", and "ring
 carrier"; therefore, they remain
 unchanged in the final rule. In response
 to one comment, EPA has changed the •
 definition for "elongation at break". In
 the .proposed rule, EPA defined "5
 percent elongation at break" as " *  * *
 computed by dividing the length, at
 break, of the material before it is tested
 by the length of the material, at break,
 after it is stretched  *  *  * " The
 commenter pointed out that the
 proposed definition incorrectly divided
 the original length of the plastic by the
 length after it has been stretched. The
 definition found in the final rule
 language corrects this error as well as
 defines the term to more closely
 resemble the ASTM definition.
    EPA received many comments on the
 proposed rule's usage of terms

 9868      Federal Register / Vol. 59, No. 40  /  Tuesday. March 1,  1994 / Rules and Regulations
 describing degradability such as:
 Photodegradation. biodegradation,
 naturally-derived plastics, and synthetic
 plastics. The Agency defined and used
 theso tcnns in the preamble only for the
 purpose of discussing the issues
 surrounding degradable plastics; EPA ,
 does not use any of these terms in the
 final rule language. Therefore,
 regulatory definitions for those terms
 era not necessary.
  ^ EPA added the word "plastic" to the
 title of the regulation in response to one
 comment. The commentor expressed
 concern that this rule may be construed
 to apply to cardboard beverage carriers.
 EPA added "plastic" to the title to
 clarify the scope of this rule as set by
 Congress in Public Law 100-556. The
 definitions and requirements of today's
 regulation are not necessarily relevant to
 degrodable plastics intended for other
 end uses.
 B. Testing Degradation
   After tho formulation of the resin.
 environmental conditions are the most
 Important factors for determining the
 rate of degradation. For example, a
 pholodegradable plastic buried in a
 landfill will degrade at essentially the
 same rate as the nondegradablo formula
 of that plastic because there is no source
 of light to degrade the plastic. The
 Statute directs the Agency to protect
 marine \vildlife. To achieve this goal,
 the Agency proposed that ring carriers
 be tested for degradability by being
 exposed, "for 35 days, during June and
 July, to marine conditions in a location
 below tho latitude 26 degrees North, in
 continental United States waters." The
 Agency proposed that the amount of
 degradation could then be tested and
 measured, using ASTM D-3826-91, to
 show S percent elongation at break. In
 addition to the in situ test described
 above, the proposal also allowed
 processors of photodegradable ring
 carriers to use lab tests to check the
 degradation of the ring carriers (rather
 than a location below latitude 26
 degrees North) as long as the lab tests
 were equivalent to the in situ test. In the
 preamble to the proposal EPA stated
 that, for tho purpose of testing a
 photodegradable ring carrier, a Jab test
 following the ASTM test D-5208-91
 (using cycle A conditions for 250 light
 hours) is equivalent to the in situ test
 and could bo used by ring carrier
 processors to meet the proposed
 regulation. EPA asked for comment on
 the use of ASTM tests B-5208-91, D-
 382B-91 and G-26.
  Several commenters felt that the
ASTM tests for exposure to UV and
measurement of elongation at break
(ASTM D-5208-91 and D-3826-91.
 respectively) should be required in the
 rule language rather than referred to in
 the preamble and urged that the in situ
 test (referred to hi the proposal as the
 performance standard) should be
 deleted. The commenters felt that the in
 situ test was vague and not
 reproducible. The ASTM tests were felt
 to be easily implemented and reliable.
   In response to these comments, EPA
 decided to include the ASTM tests in
 the final rule language as an option
 along with the in situ test. EPA decided
 to not require the ASTM tests alone
 because of the potential negative effects
 on future use of biodegradables or other
 new technology. A purely biodegradable
 ring carrier (if one is developed) could  •
 never pass these tests, which are based
 on UV absorption and photodegradation
 rather than biodegradation. As a result,
 the final rule provides that the processor
 of a ring carrier may choose either the
 ASTM lab tests (ASTM D^5208-91
 using cycle A conditions for 250 light
 hours and ASTM D-3826-91) or the in
 situ test (i.e'., expose the ring carrier for
 35 days, during June and July, to marine
 conditions in a location below the
 latitude 26 degrees North, in continental
 United States waters to degrade the ring
 carrier material and then use D-3826-91
 to test for 5 percent elongation at break).
 C. Measuring Degradation
  The rate and extent of degradation
 typically are assessed by measuring
 changes in the physical properties of a
 material. For degradable plastics, a
 common method used to quantify the
 extent of degradation is to assess the
 "brittleness" of the material by
 measuring the amount of stress that
 must be applied before the plastic
 breaks. Brittleness can be measured in
 many ways, including tensile strength
 and the elongation of the plastic prior to
  In the proposed rule, the Agency
 chose "elongation at break" tp measure
 degradation. There are data that show a
 close correlation between the loss of
 elasticity (i.e., becomes brittle) and the
 rate of degradation. Brittleness can be
 used to predict the loss of physical
 integrity of the plastic which correlates
 to a reduced risk to wildlife from
  Plastic that has degraded to the point.
 of 5 percent elongation at break will
 stretch only 5 percent of its original
 length before crumbling. The LDPE
 resin used to make ring carriers
 stretches readily. Ring carriers made
 from LDPE normally can be stretched to
more than several hundred percent of
their original length before breaking.
Once the plastic material has been
exposed to degrading factors, the
  material becomes more brittle and no.
  longer can stretch very much before the
  plastic breaks. At approximately one
  hundred percent elongation at break-,
  ring carriers lose their ability to function
  and the cans fall out of the carriers (Ref.
    "Elongation at break" is accepted by
  many in the scientific community as an
  appropriate method for measuring
  brittleness, and therefore, degradation of
  degradable plastics. However, some •
  commenters interested in developing
  new ring carrier technology (for
  example, a biodegradable plastic ring
  carrier) expressed concern that
  elongation at break may not be
  appropriate for the new technology.
  Two commenters suggested the use of
  respirometric tests (using the evolution
  of carbon dioxide as a measure of
  biodegradation) for measuring
  degradation of biodegradable plastics.
  Respirometric tests are extremely
  complicated to design and run; in order
  to measure the carbon dioxide
  evolution, the experiment must be run
  under very controlled laboratory
.  conditions. To EPA's knowledge, a
  respirometric test that reflects the
  marine environment has not been
  developed. None of these commenters
  provided specific suggestions or data on
  how EPA can measure degradation of
  materials other than photodegradable
  plastics. Therefore, EPA has decided to
  leave the measurement of elongation at
  break in the final regulation, but has
  included the in situ test as an option for
  any new technology that may be
  developed.  .

-  D, Time Limit for Degradation
   The Agency is required by the statute
  to establish a time limit for degradation
  that is "the shortest period of time
  consistent with the intended use of the
  item and the physical integrity required
  for such use." Although it would be
 ideal to set  a time limit that is not
 expected to pose any risk to marine
 wildlife, it is likely that some risk to
 marine wildlife will remain because it is
 not technically possible to design a ring
 carrier that  degrades immediately upon
 disposal in  a marine environment, but
 also is strong enough for its intended
 use (holding beverages).
   The Agency investigated whether or
 not the material currently being used to
 make ring carriers, E/CO, degrades
 under marine conditions. EPA
 requested, but did not receive, any
 information to suggest that a faster time
 than measured in the EPA study (Ref. 3)
 could be achieved by E/CO or any other
 plastic product (that can also function
 as a ring carrier). E/CO clearly degrades
 when exposed to sunlight. Therefore,

            federal 'Register / Vol. 59, No.  40 I Tuesday, March  "i, 1994 / Rules and Regulations'
 the Agency has chosen a time limit for
 degradation that is based on the best
 performance observed in actual testing
 of the E/CO ring carriers currently in
 use. In a study (Ref. 3) performed by
 Research Triangle Institute for EPA, it
 took 35 days for E/CO ring carriers to
Teach 5 percent elongation at break in
 the marine environment. The.testing
 was done during the months of June and
 July, off the coast of Miami, Florida. The
 time degradable ring carriers require to
 degrade is a fraction of the time
 nondegradable ring earners were
 estimated to remain intact; therefore, the
 risk to marine species from degradable
 ring carriers will be much less than the
 risk posed by nondegradable ring
  Some commenters felt that E/CO
 could not meet the requirement within
 the proposed time period. However,
 EPA has data to the contrary which is
 included in the docket to this rule (Ref.
 3). Moreover, an E/CO processor
 commented that they believed E/CO
 could meet the proposed lab tests..
  Several commenters were concerned  "
 that the performance standard would
 inhibit the development of new
 technology. Commenters also felt that  .
 EPA should allow a longer timefra'me
 for biodegradable ring carriers to
 degrade than for photodegradables '
 because of their greater environmental
 desirability. EPA disagrees. Although
 EPA understands the environmental
 advantages of a biodegradable carrier,
 the Agency believes that any
 biodegradable ring carrier must degrade
 as quickly as E/CO so as to meet the,  .-
 statute's goal of protection of marine
 fish and wildlife.  •
  Commenters noted that states may
 misunderstand that the 35 day time
 limit hinges on testing in a warm and
 sunny environment. They feared that
 states other than Florida might require
 the 35 day timeframe. EPA realizes that
 a ring carrier that degrades in 35 days
 in Miami will take longer to degrade in
 other parts of the .country. It will also.,
 take longer for a ring carrier to degrade
 in Miami during winter than during the
 summer months (seasonal variation of
 UV is greater than geographic variation).
   By establishing the in situ test in
 § 238.30(a), the Agency does not intend
 to require that a ring carrier degrade to
 5 percent elongation at break in 35 days
 in coastal waters everywhere in the
 United States. For example, this' rule is
 not requiring a ring carrier be processed
 so that it degrades within 35 days in
 northern coastal waters (e.g., Maine).
 Such a ring carrier may not be able to
 be marketed nationally because it may
 degrade too quickly in the south during
 the summer and, therefore, would not
be able to perform its intended function.
Therefore, the Agency wishes to
emphasize that ihein-situ testis 35 days
in marine conditions in a location below
the latitude 26 degrees North, not 35  .
days in any coastal water in the
continental United States. '  ...

E. Preemption of State Regulations
  Over half of the states have enacted
legislation requiring the use of
degradable ring carriers. State
requirements (Ref. 4) vary widely in
timeframes for degradation, definitions
of plastic articles covered, testing
requirements, and degradation
processes. EPA received four comments
requesting that this rule preempt State
.regulations concerning the degradability
of plastic ring carriers. Commenters
expressed concern that the various state
standards could force the processors
and distributors of ring carriers to use
more than one type of ring carrier rather
than the one ring carrier currently used
  EPA understands, this concern and, in
principle', agrees that one degradable
ring carrier should provide adequate
protection for fish and wildlife
nationwide. However, Congress did not
provide authority for this rule to
preempt state regulation of degradable  .
ring carriers. Nor does EPA believe
Congress intended this rule to preempt
more stringent state and local
regulations.          •
  The Agency does not intend to
interfere with local, state, or other
federal programs pertaining to the
regulation of degradable plastics.
V. Implementation and Summary of
This Final Rule
  In summary, today's Final Rule
requires that manufacturers and
importers of plastic ring carriers test
their ring carriers to ensure that they
degrade. The processor of a ring carrier
may choose either the ASTM lab tests
(ASTM D-5208-91, using cycle A
conditions for 250 light hours, and D-
3826-91) or the in situ test (expose for
35 days, during June and July, to marine
conditions in a location below the
latitude 26 degrees North, in continental
United States waters and then, using D-
3826-91, test for 5 percent elongation at
  This rule 'applies to both processors in
the United States and also to any person
in the United States importing ring
carriers. This rule does not differentiate
between ring carriers processed for use
in the United States and other countries
because, at the time of sale to beverage
bottlers, the processor has no knowledge
as to where the ring carriers will be sold
or used.
   Each ring processor arid importer  .
 must determine that its ring carrier
 meets this degradable performance  .
 standard using either of the tests
 described in today's rule, before
 marketing for use the ring carriers. The
 Agency does not intend for processors .
 and importers of ring carriers to test
 each shipment of ring carriers to
. determine if they meet the performance
 standard; rather they should test the -  •
 ring carrier each time the ring carrier's
 formulation or processing procedure
 changes substantially. Importers must
 not knowingly distribute ring,carriers
 that do not meet this performance
 standard and they should seek
 assurance from the processors that the
 ring carriers meet the performance
.'standard. If more than one processor
 manufactures ring carriers using the
 same ring carrier material and
 processing conditions, then they do not
 each have to test their own ring carrier;
 they may share the test data.
 VI. Administrative Designation and"
 Regulatory Analysis

 A. Regulatory Impact Analysis
   Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR
 51735 (October 4,1993)), the Agency
 must determine whether the regulatory
 action is "significant" and therefore
 subject to the Office of Management and
 Budget review and the requirements of
 the Executive Order. The Order defines '
 "significant regulatory action" as one
 that is likely to result in a rule that may:
   (1) Have an annual effect on the .
 economy of $100 million or more  or
 adversely affect in-a material way  the
 economy, a sector of the economy,
 productivity, competition, jobs, the
 environment, public health or safety, or
 State, local, or tribal governments or
 communities;    .
   (2) Create a serious inconsistency or
 otherwise interfere with an action taken
 or planned by another agency;
   (3) Materially -alter the budgetary
 impact of entitlements, grants, user fees,
 or loan programs or the rights and
 obligations of recipients thereof; or
   (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues
 arising out of legal mandates, the
 President's priorities, or the principles
 set forth in the Executive Order."
   It has  been determined that this rule
 is not a "significant regulatory action"
 under the terms of Executive Order
 12866 and is therefore not subject to
 OMB review because the Agency
 believes the processors are able to meet
 these standards without changing
 current technology.

 B. Executive Order 12875
   Executive Order 12875, "Enhancing
 the Intergovernmental Partnership", is

9070       Federal Register / -Vol. .59, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 1, 1994 / Rules and Regulations
I0UIAMJ *#w* feA«4t*k* UAW A U*U ¥» A1A A4UL JJLC1VC
rtgnificant economic impact on a
.ubstantial number of small entities.
 intended to reduce imposition of •    , -
 unfunded federal mandates on state,
 local and tribal governments. This rule
 docs not impose a mandate on these
 governments. The requirements of this
 rule apply solely to the plastic
 processors of ring carriers and do'not
 compel any action by state, local or
 tribal governments.           .

 C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

   Tlio Regulatory Flexibility Act (5
 U.S.C 601 et seq.) requires an agency to'
 prepare, and make available for public
 comment, a regulatory flexibility
 analysis that describes the impact of a
  Sroposcd or final rule on small entities
  ,o., small businesses, small
 organizations, and small governmental
 jurisdictions). No regulatory flexibility
 analysis is required if the head of an
 egoncy certifies the rule will not have
  This rule will affect ring carrier
 processors, none of whom are small
 entitles. Small entities are not likely to
 rater into this market because of the
 requirements for expensive application
 equipment and quantities of materials.
 Therefore, in accordance with 5 U.S.C.
 005(b), I hereby certify that this rule, as
 promulgated, will not have a significant
 Adverse economic impact on a
 substantial number of small entities (as
 defined by the Regulatory Flexibility

 £>< Papenmrk Reduction Act


 or rocordkceping provisions associated
 with this rule. Such provisions, were
 they included, would be submitted for
 approval to OMB under the Paperwork
 Reduction Act. 44.U.S.C. 3501 et seq.
 VII.  References
  (1) Narayan, Ramanl. "Development of
 Standard* for Dcgradabla Plastics by ASTM
Subcommittee D-20.9G on Environmentally
 Degradable Plastics", 1992. •
  (2) Samaras. Peter. L. Letter to EPA, for
ITVV Hl-cone. August 31.1992.
  (3) Research Triangle Institute.
"WeatherablHty of Enhanced-Degradable
Plastics." Contract No. 08-02-4544. U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.
Cincinnati. OH. 1992.
    3 Agency has determined that there
    3 additional reporting, notification,
   ; (4) Eastern Research Group. Current Status
•  of State Regulations Requiring Degradable
  Ring Carriers. March 1992.

  List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 238

   Environmental protection, Beverage
  ring carrier, Biodegradation, Degradable
  plastic, Degradabifity standards,
  Imports, Incorporation by reference,
  Photodegradation, Ring carrier, Waste
  treatment and disposal.
   Dated: February 16,1994.'
  Carol M. Browner,
  Administrator. •                      •
   For reasons set out in the preamble,
  title 40, chapter I, of the Code of Federal
  Regulation is amended by adding part .
  238 consisting of §§ 238.10, 238.20 and
  238.30 to read as follows:


  Subpart A—General  Provisions
  238.10  Purpose'and applicability.
  238.20  Definitions.'

  Subpart B—Requirements
  238.30  Requirement/
   Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6914b-l.

 Subpart A—General Provisions

 §238.10  Purpose and applicability.
   The purpose of this part is to require
 that plastic ring carriers be made of   •
 degradable materials as described in
 §§ 238.20 and 238.30. The requirements
 of this  part apply to all processors and
 importers of plastic ring carriers in the
 United States as defined in § 238.20.

 §238.20  Definitions.
   For the purpose of this part:
   Percent elongation at break means the
 percent increase in length of the plastic
 material caused by a tensile load.
 Percent elongation at break shall be
 calculated by  dividing the extension at
 the moment of rupture of the specimen
 by the initial gage length of the
 specimen and multiplying by 100.
   Processor means the persons or
 entities that produce ring carriers ready
 for use  as beverage carriers.
   Ring  carrier means any plastic ring
 carrier device that contains at least one
 hole greater than 1% inches in diameter
 which is made, used, or designed for the
 purpose of packaging, transporting, or
 carrying multipackaged cans or bottles.

 Subpart B—Requirement

 §238.30. Requirement  '  .  _..    ,
   (a) No processor or person shall'
 manufacture or import, in bulk, ring
 carriers intended for use in •the United
 States unless they are designed and
 manufactured so that the ring carriers
 degrade to the point of 5 percent
 elongation at break, when tested in
 accordance with ASTM D-3826-91, .
 "Standard Practice for Determining
 Degradation End Point in Degradable
 Polyolefins Using a Tensile Test", after
 the ring carrier is exposed to, either:
   (1) 250 light-hours of UV in
 accordance with ASTM D-5208-91,"
 Standard Practice for Operating
 Fluorescent Ultraviolet (UV) and
 Condensation Apparatus for Exposure of
 Photodegradable Plastics", using cycle
 A; or           '             •
   (2) 35 days, during June and July, to
 marine conditions in a location below
 the latitude 26 degrees North, in   .
 continental United States waters!
   (b) The incorporation by reference of
 ASTM D-3826-91, "Standard Practice
 for Determining Degradation End Point
 in Degradable Polyolefins Using a
 Tensile Test", and ASTM D-5208-91,
 "Standard Practice for Operating
 Fluorescent Ultraviolet (UV) and
 Condensation Apparatus for Exposure of
 Photodegradable Plastics," was
 approved by the director of the Federal
 Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C.
 552(a) and  1 CFR part 51. Copies are
 available from the American Society of
 Testing and Materials, 1916 Race Street,
 Philadelphia, PA 19103. Copies may be
 inspected at the Resource Conservation
 and Recovery Act (RCRA) Docket
 Information Center, (5305), U.S.
 Environmental Protection Agency
 Headquarters, 401 M Street, SW.,
 Washington, DC 20460 or at the Office
 of the Federal Register, 800 North
 Capitol Street, NW., suite 700,
 Washington, DC. These materials are
 incorporated as they exist on the date  of
the approval and notice of any change
in these materials will be published in
the Federal Register.
 [FR Doc. 94-4369 Filed 2-28-94; 8:45 am]

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