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Judge rules on flow control conflicts in NY

28 March 2014

The judge reviewing an appeal by a local recycling hauler granted summary judgment in favor of a Rockland County, NY flow control ordinance.

The judge ruled it was constrained by, and that the Rockland situation was on point with, the flow control ordinance that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007 in its United Haulers decision. The judge was not swayed by the fact that Rockland has contracted out flow control to the advantage of private companies and he focused instead on the ownership of the transfer stations and material recycling facilities (MRFs) by Rockland County.

Flow control laws mandate that all waste or recyclable material be routed to government sanctioned processors to maximize the investment in the program. In this case, all recyclable material generated within the Rockland County limits, including confidential media, must be dumped at specified operations owned by the county. At these sites there are no assurances or expectations of security or privacy.

As reported several months ago, NAID joined with several other associations to support a lawsuit challenging the restriction. While others focused on the limitation to free enterprise and unfair competition, NAID additionally articulated the obvious conflict between flow control compliance requirements and compliance with data protection laws. At this point, the association has yet to determine if further action will be taken. However, with these types of programs growing in popularity as a revenue stream for local governments, it could have a significant impact on secure destruction services across the United States.