Las Vegas Sun

January 28, 2015

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Denis plows forward with recycling bill

Responding to critics, Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis has amended his construction material recycling bill to protect smaller centers that could have been put out of business by the original version of his proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 316 would require construction sites to dispose of their demolition waste at a materials recovery facilities, which sort waste into garbage and recyclables. The original version of the bill would have prohibited recyclable material that didn't need sorting from going to smaller centers that deal with that specific kind of waste.

Denis introduced an amendment Friday that would change that.

"We had a couple of things that came up," Denis said. "What about the facilities that do single-stream? So that's one thing we wanted to amend."

But that doesn't mean his bill has smooth sailing.

Republicans on the Assembly Commerce and Labor committee that heard the bill Friday questioned whether it would increase costs for construction companies that are just starting to struggle out of the recession. In some cases, sending construction waste to a materials recovery facility would be more expensive that sending it to the landfill.

"Recycling in the rural areas just doesn't work," Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington, said. "Some companies see this as a huge expense. At a time when they are just trying to come back in the construction industry, we would be adding a burden and an expense on these people."

Owners of materials recovery facilities in Las Vegas argued the expense is often lower than taking the waste to a landfill, saying landfill rates in Clark County skyrocketed to the point it was more economically feasible to recycle than to dump. They also argued that the bill would create jobs within their industry.

Denis used to work for a company that owns a materials recycling facility.

His bill would apply to construction sites in counties with two or more such facilities within 30 miles of the site.

"The question is do we want to have more recycling," Denis said. "If the answer is yes, then this is an excellent opportunity to do that."

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